Pittsburgh Steelers: Antonio Brown is turning Artie Burns into a superstar

Artie Burns
Artie Burns /

Of course, Antonio Brown is already the best wide receiver in the NFL, but Pittsburgh Steelers training camp is going to create another star this season.

“Two-five,” head coach, Mike Tomlin, said to Antonio Brown as the team stretched on Friday’s training camp opener.

“Hopefully,” Brown replied.

Out of all the matchups to watch during Steelers training camp, that might be the most exciting. Brown may have beat No. 25 down field a few times during the first weekend of camp, but that’s something to expect every time AB touches the turf.

Artie Burns, No. 25, may only be entering his second season in the NFL, but his confidence is one of a veteran. The former first-round pick always seems confident to square off with the league’s best.

With pads, that’s something that’ll only get more intense. Not in a rivalry, and not as heated competition. But more as two players who know every time they look each other in the eyes, waiting for the snap, that they’re creating two of the best players in football.

Burns may not be considered anything special right now. The second-year corner lead a sub par secondary in 2016 and came away with 64 tackles and three interceptions. Definitely good numbers for a rookie, but not a stat line that provides “superstar” labeling.

That’ll be different this year. Burns vs. Brown is what will make that difference. While Brown doesn’t necessarily need to be out there tearing up the competition, even though he will, he’s doing this young corner a major solid.

It’s definitely frustrating when you get burned by AB. Especially, when he’s out there dancing and having a good time while you’re on the other side busting your butt trying to make a play. That’s how you get to dance, though. Even Antonio Brown didn’t come into the NFL making one-handed sideline catches in triple coverage. That’s something that came from work. A lot of work.

Pittsburgh is a strong defense away from a Super Bowl, and everyone knows it. So, for every play Brown beats Burns, the cornerback is looking at it as a way to improve. For every play he beats Brown, the team looks at it as a step towards a ring.

Eventually, Burns is going to be able to slow the league’s top pass catcher better than anyone in the NFL. When that happens, which will likely be by the end of camp, it means Burns has become a star. Not a star on the Steelers, but a star within the league.

When you can slow one of the greatest wideouts to play better than most people, you can slow anyone. Stepping on the field against a receiver other than Brown is going to be twice as easy once he deals with No. 84 for an entire month.

Antonio Brown isn’t known as a big leader outside of the team. But what he’s doing for No. 25 on the field is something that’ll go a long way in their Super Bowl journey.

Next: 5 biggest Steelers training camp battles

“Two-five.” Not the first name you think of when talking great cornerbacks.

That’s something that’ll change because of eight-four.