PITTSBURGH – Antonio Brown has the Steelers record for receiving yards in a season and an opportunity to break or match the record for receptions in a season.
Brown added a team MVP award Thursday to his growing list of accomplishments this season.
Brown was voted by his teammates as the Steelers’ MVP, the second time in three seasons the wide receiver has won the award.
“It’s a humbling award,” said Brown. “I want to thank my teammates, everyone in the organization. I couldn’t do it without my offensive line and my quarterback.”
Brown, who was MVP in 2011, has 101 receptions for 1,412 yards and eight touchdowns. His reception and yardage totals rank third in the NFL and he is 11 receptions shy of Hines Ward’s team-record of 112.
Brown averages 13.4 yards per punt return – also third in the NFL – with one touchdown.
“It means everything,” said Brown of winning the award. “Any time you are voted on by your peers and put in this position, you are thankful. You definitely don’t take it for granted. It’s something I appreciate.”
The Steelers appreciate Brown’s contributions. He’s the only 1,000-yard receiver in the league who also returns kicks, though he’s likely to be joined in that exclusive group by New England’s Julian Edelman, who has 991 receiving yards.
“We appreciate his versatility and his willingness to be an asset to us on special teams as well as offense,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Brown won the team MVP in 2011 after his first 1,000-yard receiving season. He also topped 1,000 yards in returns that year, becoming the first NFL player to have both 1,000 yards receiving and in returns in the same season.
He also made his first Pro Bowl berth that season, something he will find out if he accomplished again today when the teams are announced.
Brown’s numbers tailed off in 2012 as he missed three games with a knee injury, but he arrived at training camp this summer ready to become the Steelers’ No. 1 receiver after Mike Wallace left in free agency.
“Every time I come into this building, I make the commitment to be my best and provide the team everything I can,” said Brown, who has at least five receptions in every game this season.
Despite the Steelers’ 7-8 record heading into their final regular-season game Sunday against Cleveland at Heinz Field, Brown had plenty of competition for the MVP award.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had a record-breaking season, and rookie running back Le’Veon Bell has nearly 1,200 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns despite missing three games with a foot injury. Safety Troy Polamalu has forced five fumbles to go along with two interceptions, and linebacker Jason Worilds has eight sacks despite being only a part-time player during the first half of the season.
After an 0-4 start and 2-6 first half, the Steelers have won five of their past seven games and need to win Sunday and have Baltimore, San Diego and Miami lose to make the playoffs.
“We have one game to go and still playoff hopes,” said Brown. “I want to continue to remain positive, continue to provide the team situational plays and continue to never take anything for granted.”
Odds and end zones
Guard David DeCastro (back) did not practice Thursday. Linebackers Jason Worilds (abdomen) and Terence Garvin (knee) and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (knee) missed their second practice of the week.