John Grieshop/Getty Images
Pittsburgh Steelers WR Antonio Brown doesn't mind defenders coming at him.

Steelers WR Antonio Brown doesn’t mind defenders headhunting

Ryan Wooden

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown got absolutely blasted on the game-tying touchdown reception against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night by notorious headhunter George Iloka.

The Bengals safety has earned a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting defensive backs in football in an era where coming in hard and high can be costly. And Iloka’s hit on Brown nearly cost him a game check before his one-game suspension was reduced to a $35,464 fine.

Yet, despite the clear risk that Iloka’s aggression poses to him, Brown expects nothing less than to have defenders out there trying to take his head off. It even raises the level of his own play.

Without mentioning Iloka by name, Brown tweeted on Friday about the physicality of the game and defended his opponents.

“Football is a war game you think these guys tackling me nice?” Brown tweeted. “They trying to kill me and that’s what makes the game! We brought up on the bull in the ring it’s (a part) of the game. #Truth.”

Brown’s teammate, JuJu Smith-Schuster was also suspended for an illegal block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict earlier in the game and subsequently taunting Burfict by standing over him and posing after the hit. However, Smith-Schuster’s appeal was denied and he’ll miss Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith-Schuster’s teammates, including Brown, were particularly fired up about the decision and just about everybody involved in the Bengals and Steelers rivalry has shockingly come together to stand against the perception that their rivalry has crossed the line and become too violent. So much so that it even looks like Brown is defending Iloka, who was trying to take his head off just days ago.