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Antonio Brown knows this is 'pretty much his last chance'

By Rick Stroud, Tampa Bay Times on

Published in Football

TAMPA, Fla. — Tom Brady wasn't the only member of the Bucs organization pushing for the team to sign receiver Antonio Brown.

So were several of his former teammates who are members of the Bucs' coaching staff, as well as assistant head coach and running game coordinator Harold Goodwin.

What makes them all think that the off-field problems that plagued Brown with the Steelers, Raiders and Patriots are behind him?

"I just think he's a guy in a position who knows he's pretty much on his last chance," said Goodwin, who was the offensive line coach for the Steelers early in Brown's career.

In fact, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, linebackers coach Larry Foote and offensive assistant Antwaan Randle-El all were teammates of Brown's with the Steelers.

"He knows we have his back as long as he takes care of business on and off the field," Goodwin said. "And obviously, he doesn't want to let anybody down. He's coming to a situation where he probably knows he's not the No. 1 receiver, and you just try to fit in where you get in. Obviously, Tom has done a great job of spreading the ball around, so I think at some point all the receivers are going to be happy at some point in the game."

Brown still is serving an eight-game suspension that ends next Tuesday. He was suspended under the league's personal-conduct policy for his role in a January dispute with a moving company employee, for which he pleaded no contest to burglary and battery charges and received two years probation.

He is able to attend meetings and is working with the Bucs strength and conditioning staff.

"It's been normal. Really, nobody has paid any extra attention to it," Goodwin said.

 

Leftwich was the Steelers' quarterback when Brown entered the draft following an impressive career at Central Michigan.

"We used to call him 110, because he had 110 catches out of the (Mid-American Conference), you know, way before he got drafted," Leftwich said.

"It's good to see him here. It's good to see his smile. ... He's always in shape. He's always loved the game of football. That's what I know about him."

Leftwich says the unselfishness of the Bucs players will accept whatever role Brown is thrust into.

"What gives me confidence is that I know him," Leftwich said.

"I love what we have here as a team. I love our locker room. I think our locker room will be great for him. I think he'll fit right into our locker room."

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