Donte Stallworth knew Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown well before he became a star.
Stallworth coached Brown when he was a rookie wideout at Bommarito Performance in 2010. But even then, Stallworth knew Brown had the work ethic to become a star.
“It just hit me, especially with Antonio Brown. He was just on another level,” Stallworth told the Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe. I’ve never seen anyone want it more. He was literally in my face every route, every drill, every little footwork drill, every little route we ran. Every time we finished, he would come right up to me and ask me, ‘How was that?’ I was trying to coach and had 12-15 guys and trying to go rapid fire. I’m like ‘Damn.'”
It’s clear Brown has been destined for greatness for a while. Three years later, Brown busted out for 1,499 yards and 8 touchdowns and never looked back.
Stallworth saw it coming and told Brown his dedication to his craft would get him places. But even he’s surprised Brown has blossomed into the best wide receiver in the NFL.
“I’m just proud that I was able to see him go from being such a low draft choice, and knowing going into it that it was going to be an uphill battle not only for him to get drafted but for him to make a team,” Stallworth told Howe.
“I remember telling him, ‘If you don’t ever lose that work ethic, you’ll be fine. You’re fast enough, quick enough, have great hands and great awareness and body control.’ I by no means thought he’d be as insane as he is.”
Insane might be an understatement at this point. During the past two seasons, Brown has caught 265 passes, racked up 3,532 receiving yards and scored 23 touchdowns. Perhaps the former sixth-round pick’s next stop along this incredible journey is the Hall of Fame. If he keeps up that work ethic, the Hall is definitely a possibility.