From catching flack to catching footballs: AB says he’ll suit up Saturday

ALBANY – Antonio Brown has been to more NFL Pro Bowl games than he has to NAL practice sessions at MVP Arena. That ratio began to change Wednesday morning as the former all pro for the Pittsburgh Steelers suited up and took part in the entire two-hour-long practice session for the Albany Empire, a team he now owns.

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His athleticism is undeniable, and even after being away from the game for a couple of years, Brown’s prowess hauling in the pigskin is both intact, and incredibly impressive.

“As you could see today, I wasn’t in the best shape but I’m still that playmaker,” he proclaimed standing sweating and shirtless at centerfield following the team practice. “I could tell the fans one thing, what ever I say, we are going to do, and what ever the people (writers) write, it’s not because they hate me, they actually love me.”

Whether or not the fan relationship blossoms into a full blown romance might very well depend on whether the former NFL great, with more than 12,000 receiving yards, suits up on Saturday night for the team he now owns.

“My expectations are always the same,” he insisted. “Win, execute my assignment, make sure my teammates are properly prepared, and do what ever it takes to win.”

Brown has said before that he would play, but didn’t. After Wednesday’s practice, he told NewsChannel 13 the feelings of camaraderie and competitiveness have returned, but at the same time he realizes the commodities of love and respect for what he has accomplished are far from universal.

“A lot of naysayers around here have been seeing a lot of players chit chat about me,” Brown pointed out. “Do you think I care what NAL players say about me? I’m giving these guys jobs. I’m giving people careers. I’m giving people the opportunity to live out their dreams.”

After losing six games in a row, AB is determined to turn things around quickly. That turnaround, he hopes, will begin on Saturday night.