He’s the NFL’s biggest character.
And we are a city of characters, from Wayne Newton to Carrot Top to whatever rotund topless guy is currently trolling for tips on Fremont Street.
Antonio Brown and Las Vegas, a fit as snug as a headdress on a showgirl.
These are just the most recent example, though, of Brown’s larger-than-life life.
Before he gets here next year along with the Raiders, let’s take a look at just what’s made Antonio Brown the league’s character of all characters.
The facial fuzz
The Raiders might just have the most impressive legacy of lip-warmers of any NFL franchise, from Jack Tatum’s merciless whiskers to Fred Biletnikoff’s enviable soup strainer to Todd Christensen’s second-to-none ’stache, which looked liked a hippie guinea pig copping Zzz’s beneath his sniffer.
Adding to this rich heritage earlier in the year was Antonio Brown’s splendid blond mouth mane, a glorious study in prime peroxide usage, rivaling the hall-of-fame snot mops of Hulk Hogan and Tom DeLonge in Blink-182’s “First Date” video.
It may have spent a short time on Brown’s face, but it shall live on forever in the annals of gridiron crumb catchers.
The dance moves
On Sept. 12, 2016, Antonio Brown became the first man in NFL history to be flagged for celebratory twerking following a touchdown.
Then the refs promptly entered the stands to slap ice cream cones out of little kids’ hands while rubbing pretzel salt in any open wounds as part of the league’s ongoing crackdown on fun, smiling and mirth.
Oh, but Antonio Brown remained undaunted, continuing to unleash the game’s sweetest dance moves week after week — it even got him on “Dancing With the Stars” — highlighted, of course, by the all-time-great “Benny Biggle Wiggle.”
“Ickey Shuffle,” hang your head in shame.
“Mean” Joe Green, William “Refrigerator” Perry, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, Ryan “Don’t Talk to Me, Bro!” Leaf, Jim “What Team Do I Play For Again?” Marshall: The game has a long history of suh-weet nicknames.
So where does Brown’s self-anointed “Mr. Big Chest” handle, which he gave himself in an Instagram video in February, rank among those killer tags?
Well, after much deliberation, and the consultation of various magic eight balls, we’re going to slide it pretty high up the list, right between Mark “Your Butt, My Face” Sanchez and “Gus,” the football kicking mule from Yugoslavia.
Congrats, AB, er, Mr. Chest!
To quote the wisest of wise men, aka Jules Winnfield from “Pulp Fiction”: “Personality goes a long way.”
And Antonio Brown has personality to spare — seriously, Bill Belichick should borrow some when he’s done siphoning lemons with that sourpuss of his.
Sometimes it gets Brown into trouble, as he is most certainly a shenanigan-prone individual. Though we’re not here to make light of some of his more serious incidents, such as getting cited for reckless driving when he was clocked doing over 100 mph in Pittsburgh or getting sued for allegedly throwing furniture off a condo balcony, both of which occurred last year, or now facing a civil lawsuit that alleges that he stiffed a chef’s bill of nearly $40,000 at Pro Bowl festivities in 2018.
The NFL can take itself a little too seriously at times, with more rules than … trying to think here … OK, there’s nothing with more rules than the NFL, whose rule book has a rule prohibiting the regulation of rules.
Now, Brown doesn’t always abide by those rules, such as when he went on Facebook Live from the Steelers’ locker room after a game in 2017, capturing his coach lobbing A-bombs at Belichick and the bare backside of a teammate.
There’s no excusing that behavior, but then again, that’s the thing with Brown: He’s not out there offering any excuses for who he is.
We’re not giving him a pass for that.
We’re just too busy stocking up on the popcorn.