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Antonio Brown: 'I still stay in contact with Mike T. He is always a leader for me.'

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It has been well documented that Antonio Brown has had a tumultuous year-and-a-half. He forced his way out of Pittsburgh after a heated dispute with Ben Roethlisberger and got traded to the Raiders in March of 2019, but he had a falling out there as well and was released in early September.

Brown ultimately landed in New England despite facing allegations of sexual and personal misconduct levied against him. He played just one game with the Patriots and was cut on Sept. 20 after news broke that he sent intimidating text messages to one of his accusers.

The Patriots just had enough at that point and so did the rest of the league, as no one signed him. He was just a big distraction at the time and he had to get his personal life in order first before ever stepping on a football field again.

On July 31, 2020, Brown was suspended for the first eight weeks of the 2020 NFL season for multiple violations of the league's personal-conduct policy. Brown signed a one-year contract with the Buccaneers on Oct. 27 and has 45 receptions for 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight regular-season games.

Brown had three receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 31-23 win over the Washington Football Team in the wild-card game. Brown was inactive for the NFC Championship Game against the Packers as he was hindered by a knee injury that he suffered in the divisional round game against the Saints.

Brown spoke with the media on Wednesday, as he prepares to play in the Super Bowl on Sunday. Brown was very candid in his interview, and it appears that he has turned his life around and is on the right track. Tom Brady played a big role in Brown signing with the Buccaneers and there haven't been any issues. Brown hasn't complained about not being targeted and there haven't been any outbursts on social media.

"It's all about controlling your emotions, physically, mentally, when you don't feel good," Brown said via Dale Lolley of DKPittsburghSports. "Not being a slingshot when others come at me. Learning how to control my attitude, not letting my emotions get the best of me, even if something they did was wrong, just being forgiving. Staying positive."

Brown said he still keeps in touch with a couple of teammates from when he was a Steeler and is still close with Mike Tomlin.

"I keep in touch with a couple of teammates," Brown said. "I still stay in contact with Mike T. He is always a leader for me. He's always there for me. As I continue on the journey, we'll be in touch."

Brown was asked what would he tell his rookie self when he was a sixth-round draft pick out of Central Michigan. Brown said he wished he had more humility.

"I would tell myself, 'rookie Antonio, be humble, no matter what phase you get into in the NFL, be humble,'" he said. '"It's not about the destination and the journey, it's about the company you keep. This game can be taken away from you at any moment. Maximize your opportunity because you never know when you'll get another opportunity.

"It's just being humble. I've been making the most of my opportunity and channeling my emotions. As a football player, you know what you're capable of and you get excited and want to do more. But I had to understand I came here excited and grateful for any opportunity I had if it was two plays or 20 plays. For me, it's just staying ready. I don't know how many plays I'm going to get. I just prepare for the moment. I keep my mind positive and poised for the outcome. In Pittsburgh, I was seeing 10, 12 targets a game and you know what that entails."

Brown sounded genuine and has really been humbled after dealing with a lot of adversity over the last year-and-a-half. Yeah, a lot of it was Brown's own doing, but it seems like he has learned from his mistakes.

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