Ex-Steelers backup QB Bruce Gradkowski on Antonio Brown: ‘The guy works harder than anyone I’ve been around’

Bruce Gradkowski knows plenty about controversial Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.

They were teammates, when Gradkowski was a backup quarterback for the Steelers.

‘Whether you like it or not … you’re a leader around here’

Not only does Gradkowski recognize Brown’s considerable talent, he also sees his ability to mean so much more to the team than just putting up big numbers. And that’s why Gradkowski thinks Brown should recognize that he should be the last player to not show up at the facility the Monday after a game, as Brown did this week following the Steelers’ loss against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“The kind of ability he has and what he’s capable of doing on the field and the work ethic he has, the guy works harder than anyone I’ve been around,” Gradkowski said while co-hosting with Bruce Murray on the SiriusXM Blitz. “But show up. Be respectful of your teammates, be a professional, because these young guys are looking at you now. Now you are the veteran in that locker room. Now you are one of the leaders. Whether you like it or not, you put up those kind of stats a year, you’re a leader around here.

‘He want to be a part of the game to help the team win’

“I know AB and, honestly, everyone likes him in that locker room because he’s a hard worker. He gets in there, he works harder than anyone in that organization. But the thing with AB, he’s emotional at times. What receiver do you know that’s not selfish and doesn’t want the football. He wants to be a part of the game to help the team win.”

Gradkowski said he believes other veteran players on the team are looking to coach Mike Tomlin to see how he’ll handle the situation with Brown failing to show up for work last Monday.

‘(Tomlin’s) about letting guys develop in their own sense’

“Look, I’ve been a big fan of Mike Tomlin,” Gradkowski said. “I think he handles different personalities really well, he’s able to get the most out of guys, get them to Sunday and watch what they do on the field. And he’s all about that. He’s about letting guys develop in their own sense.

“I mean, JuJu Smith-Schuster, he comes in, ballin’ out on the field, and he’s also like an Antonio Brown as far as media, social media and being out there. He lets guys develop and he’s not nit-picking on every little thing you do off the field. He lets you kind of grow as a person, but there comes a time where you have to make a point.”

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