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Antonio Brown grateful for his Super Bowl journey

Off-field issues still remain for the former Steelers receiver, but he’s focused on Sunday’s game with the Chiefs.
Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) during a game in January in Tampa.
Bucs wide receiver Antonio Brown (81) is tackled by Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell (24) during a game in January in Tampa. [ MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE | Times ]
Published Feb. 3, 2021|Updated Feb. 3, 2021

TAMPA — Antonio Brown did not take a seat at a podium for a virtual news conference at Super Bowl 55 to talk about the past.

“I’ve been through some things, but that’s life,” Brown said Wednesday. “We all have a story. We all have to allow ourselves to grow for the betterment of ourselves. I’m just grateful for the journey.”

Brown’s journey, of course, is well-documented and includes incidents that led to a trade from the Steelers to the Raiders and his eventual release from Las Vegas.

It includes an arrest after he was accused of attacking a moving van driver (he pleaded no contest) that led to an eight-game suspension and allegations of sexual assault with a case still pending in civil court.

But the journey will culminate this season with Brown a likely participant in Super Bowl 55. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after missing the NFC Championship Game with a knee injury.

“I want my legacy to be a guy that was persistent, a guy that never gave up, no matter the odds, no matter the hate,” Brown said. “A sixth-round kid from Central Michigan that never gave up. A guy who had the will of a champion.”

Brown had 45 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns for the Bucs during the regular season and has three receptions for 53 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games.

Brown wouldn’t handicap his chances of playing Sunday. “I’m just focused on preparation for the game,” he said. “I’m not worried too much with what all that entails.”

It’s uncertain what “hate” Brown is referring to, since he seems to have brought his off-field problems upon himself.

The biggest thing Brown has going for him is quarterback Tom Brady in his corner.

“Antonio and I connected right away,” Brady said. “He has a great love for the game. He’s a real perfectionist about how he plays, how he takes care of himself. Incredible football IQ. Again, a great skill set just as a player, and I think made incredible strides over the last 12 months to get from where he was at to where he’s at now.”

Brady said helping people become the best they can be is something he really enjoys about sports.

“For me as an older player, I think the impact that I want to have as I continue to move forward is help other people maximize their potential,” he said.

On Sunday, Brady can help Brown get his first Super Bowl ring.

Tampa Bay Times Super Bowl 55 coverage

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