Q&A: Star football player Antonio Brown returns to Mount Pleasant

Business was boomin’ at McGuirk Arena Saturday afternoon.

Standout NFL wide receiver and Central Michigan football legend Antonio Brown returned to his old stomping grounds and sat courtside to watch Marcus Keene and the men’s basketball team take on Ball State.

During the game, fans greeted Brown with cheers and a standing ovation as he threw autographed T-Shirts into the stands. Several fans sported their No. 84 Pittsburgh Steeler jerseys and chanted "AB!" throughout the game. 

Brown was one of the most prolific receivers in CMU history from 2007-09. He finished his CMU career with 305 receptions, 3,199 yards and 22 touchdowns and was a two-time All-Mid-American Conference performer.

He was drafted by the Steelers with the 195th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Brown has become one of the league’s top offensive threats, recording 632 receptions, 8,377 yards and 50 touchdowns in his career thus far. He’s been named to five Pro Bowls and has been named to the NFL All-Pro First-team three times.

Central Michigan Life caught up with the superstar receiver during his visit Saturday.

CM LIFE: How does it feel to be back in Mount Pleasant?

BROWN: It’s amazing to be back. It’s a tremendous opportunity to be here. To see the “C” is still flying right, a championship culture, to see things have gotten better and to see the growth is pretty exciting to be a part of.

What brought you back to CMU this weekend?

I’m excited to be back and get acclimated with the culture and be out here and show love to the fans and the community, and obviously get an opportunity to watch Keene play. 

I’m here just in support of everyone and to show love to the basketball team, the football team and be an inspiration and see what I could do to make things even better around here.

How does it feel to have reached the celebrity status since you left the university?

It feels great. Anytime you get the love from someone else for the position you’re in and the things you’ve been able to do, you just want to be able to show that love back and not take it for granted. 

I just want to show that love back and let the people around here know that you can make it and do the things you desire to do if you work at it and be consistent.

Who wins one-on-one? You or Marcus Keene?

Oh, for sure Marcus Keene.

What’s your relationship like with football coach John Bonamego?

I met with him last night. He’s a great dude. He’s been around football for a long time and knows what it takes to get guys to that next level, and I think he’s going to bring a championship culture to the team. He knows how to recruit. I think he’ll bring a championship spirit that we need to see from the Chippewas.

How do you think the (football) team will do this upcoming year?

We’ve got to do better than last year. We had a lot of talent. We beat some big teams, but I still think we need to hone in on taking over the MAC in regards to where we had it when I was here.

When you talked to the (football) team, what did you say to them?

I told them to believe in themselves. Believing in yourself is key. 

Be there for the guys next to them and have a plan and a vision. Know why you’re here in your spare time and regardless of what you want to become or what you’re working toward, stay focused and prioritized and make something of yourself even if you’re not a football player. 

Get your degree and transition well in life.

You weren't highly recruited out of high school. What’s your message to the guys who aren’t highly recruited out of high school?

Don’t worry about the small things and what people say you can’t do. If you believe yourself and do the right things, you can will yourself into a position (to succeed). It’s not about how big you are or where you come from. 

Are you planning to come back more?

Yeah, I’m excited to come back more and find out how I can help the community and affect those around here in a positive way.