Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
In the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown makes his first appearance to give an update on the current state of his career. Raised in the Liberty City section of Miami, the athlete shined while playing football at Miami Norland High School, but bounced around from North Carolina Tech Prep to Florida International University before ultimately winding up at Central Michigan. Playing three years for the Chippewas, he entered the 2010 NFL Draft and was selected 195th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round.
After riding the pine for much of his rookie year, Brown broke out as a bonafide playmaker during his sophomore season as a pro and earned a Pro Bowl selection as a punt returner in 2011. Building on that momentum, the star ultimately replaced Hines Ward as the focal point of the Steelers’ receiving attack and earned his first First-Team All-Pro selection in 2014. Since then, Brown has been rated among the top wide-outs in the NFL with a production rate on par with the likes of Jerry Rice.
However, in recent years, Brown’s career has been mired in controversy. From his departure from the Pittsburgh Steelers to his short stints with the Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots, he’s been a magnet for drama, which has left him without a spot on an NFL roster. With a renewed focus and an aspiration to get back to the league, the athlete has voiced a newfound maturation and looks to bounce back from the adversity even better than ever.
To help give fans a recap of the conversation, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Antonio Brown episode of “Drink Champs.” Take a look at them below.
1. On His Relationship With Tom Brady
Following his departure from the Oakland Raiders, Brown inked a new deal with the New England Patriots, but was cut from the team after only playing game. However, he developed a camaraderie with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during his time with the squad, which he speaks on during his sit-down with N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN. “We been cool way before that,” Brown says in reference to his relationship with the future Hall of Fame QB. “And the mutual understanding of hard work Tom is an exemplify of a guy who worked his way to the top and continues to set that precedent of being a high-end athlete, and still working hard. He’s a professional, he works at the game and he puts the time in.”
2. On The Possibility of Seeing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick Compete
Brady’s decision to part ways with the New England Patriots and sign a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sent shockwaves through the NFL and left many speculating on his feelings toward Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. When asked to give his take on the situation, Brown takes a wait-and-see approach while wishing both parties individual success. “I mean, if that would be the case, it would be exciting to see,” he says. “As a competitor, as a player, as a teammate, as a coach, everyone’s success depends on everyone. So, it’s always amazing to see everyone have individual success, collective success and see how they do separately.”
3. His Relationship With Ben Roethlisberger
Brown and Ben Roethlisberger were among the elite quarterback-receiver tandems in the NFL during the former’s nine-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which made his decision to seek a trade following the 2018-2019 NFL season even more surprising. During his interview with the “Drink Champs,” the former All-Pro wide-out speaks on his relationship with Roethlisberger and takes accountability for his part in their public dispute. “I think it was just a misunderstanding, man,” he says of the bad blood between him and his former QB. “Me and Roethlisberger had a great time playing football, great relationships and memories and moments we created. But, I just think as a competitor, as an athlete, you get older and you go through so much as an individual and you don’t really get to communicate with the quarterback in regards of everything you’re thinking or what went on for that year. So, I just think I did kind of the same thing that Ben did, went to blaming other people for my problems instead of just taking responsibility and getting them done. So, shout out to Ben, man. We broke a lot of records together, man. So, it’s all love.”
4. His Feelings On Stephen A. Smith And Sports Media
One of the most prominent and outspoken reporters in sports media is Stephen A. Smith and he’s become a polarizing figure among athletes including Antonio Brown, who clapped back at the renowned pundit in response to his critiques or actions off the field. “He’s a smart guy,” Brown says of Smith when name gets brought up. “But, I think sometimes, he contradicts what he says. Like, sometimes, he may say something, but he may not believe it a little.” He also goes on to clarify his stance on the media as a whole, adding, “I don’t really have no problem with no one in the media, man. I know these dudes gotta do their job and sometimes they gotta say things about me that may not be ideal, but they gotta do it, that’s their job. I don’t take it personal, I know that’s a part of the game, being judged and having people talk about you. But, sometimes people say some stuff that’s just off the wall.”
5. On Overcoming Adversity
Despite putting up prolific numbers on the field and being recognized as arguably the best wide-receiver in the NFL, Brown’s antics outside the lines have stained his reputation, leading him to be pegged as a distraction and malcontent. The athlete speaks on working toward redeeming himself and his plan to make the best of whatever opportunity is placed before him. “I just think you gotta just change your outlook,” he says of his approach to handling adversity. “[If] your outlook to any circumstance is negative, then your actions gonna follow suit. So I think for me, at that time coming off a season, you can still carry a season of frustrations. But, the NFL is great [a] opportunity, giving guys the opportunity to live their dream, make millions of dollars and live out an amazing career. So, for me, I’m just thankful to get the opportunity back and show people what I can do.”
6. His Feelings On The NCAA’s Exploitation of Student Athletes
As a former collegiate football player himself, Brown is well aware of the restrictions the NCAA puts on student athletes, which blocks them from receiving compensation for the usage of their likeness or cashing in on sports endorsements. He shares his thoughts on the plight of the student athlete, and how the system stifles their ability to evolve their brand. “I mean, as an athlete, you shouldn’t just be prohibited or limited to the opportunities of a lifestyle to be creative and be evolving,” he says. “Everyone can do multi-skills, if they can, let ‘em do it. So, giving more free-range to be more creative, take advantage of more business, get better deals.”
7. On His Respect For Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin is one of the most respected figures in football, thanks to his distinction as the youngest coach to win a Super Bowl, as well as the longest-tenured head coach of African descent. When asked what it was like to be mentored by Tomlin, Brown voices his appreciation for the signal-caller’s guidance. “Obviously, he’s a guy who understands guys like myself coming from the environments we come from,” Brown says of Tomlin’s ability to connect with his players. “So, obviously, he can relate to me and other players in a way of such understanding that other coaches may not have. So, his leadership and examples, discipline, and helping young players be successful in the league was really good.”
8. How He’ll Remember Kobe Bryant
The impact of Kobe Bryant’s death was felt throughout the sports community. While the late baller and Brown didn’t share a close relationship, the All-Pro receiver voices his respect for the fallen Lakers’ infamous work ethic and will to win. “I met him a few times, that’s about it,” he says. “Well, Kobe Bryant inspired a lot of kids, a lot of people around the world. Work ethic, his Mamba mentality. So, obviously, what he meant to a lot of people all over the world, just off his work ethic and his ability to play the game.”
9. N.O.R.E. On Losing A Source Award To Silkk the Shocker
N.O.R.E.’s history as one of the hottest rap artists on the east coast during the latter half of the ‘90s has afforded him the opportunity to rub shoulders with legends and be a part of an number of interesting moments. One memory he relives during this episode of “Drink Champs” is the time he lost a Source award to none other than former No Limit Records artist Silkk the Shocker. “One time, at an award show, it’s me, Big Pun, DMX, [and] Kurupt against Silkk the Shocker. We [were] all in that same category,” he recalls. “We all know we gonna win. We’re like, ‘Come on, no one takes Silkk serious.’ This is Miami, it’s The Source Awards. So, they’re coming up, me, Pun, and I’m just looking at everyone. It’s imaginary ties ‘cause we ain’t have ties. In my mind, we was fixing the tie, and they said, ‘Silkk the Shocker.’ I said, ‘Motherfucker!!!’ Nah, I’m just fucking with you, Silk. But, I just feel like I still deserve that award. Like, to this day, I feel like I still did deserve that award and I think I got Benzino to admit that they paid for the award. I’m not sure (laughs).”