Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. This offseason, Pittsburgh has suffered two key losses which could prevent a return to postseason play. James Harrison, who led the team in sacks with six, was released to help the salary-cap situation. And wide receiver Mike Wallace took his talents to South Beach when he inked a huge free-agent deal with the Dolphins. The Steelers nearly lost another wide receiver. In a surprising move, the New England Patriots signed restricted free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. Because he was a restricted free agent, the Steelers had the choice to match the offer or let him walk. There was some uncertainty on whether the Steelers would match. They ultimately decided they couldn’t afford another loss at receiver, so they matched.
And it will be Sanders and Antonio Brown who will be asked to step up and fill the shoes left behind by the speedy Wallace. Antonio Brown joined 93.7 the Fan in Pittsburgh on the Fan Morning Show to talk about how happy he is to have Emmanuel Sanders back, whether he thought Sanders was going to go to New England, picking up the slack for Mike Wallace, the rumors of James Harrison possibly going to Cincinnati and what his focus is this offseason.
How happy he is that Emmanuel Sanders is coming back:
“Definitely happy to have him back. Great, experienced receiver, a teammate of mine since I have been a rookie, and I’m glad he is returning back for another season.”
Did he think he was gone?
“I don’t know. I thought for sure there was a possibility that he may be gone. Great decision by the team bringing him back and keeping an experienced guy around.”
On picking up the slack for Mike Wallace:
“I don’t know yet. I think Todd will have great plans and I think we have to do some things that will help us win games. Whichever road that may be for me, I’m sure we will both be receptive.”
How much does Plaxico Burress have left in the tank?
“I think he has a little left in the tank. I’m sure he is excited. I’m sure he’s looking forward to the opportunity. And I’m sure he is ready to go.”
If he is concerned about James Harrison possibly going to the Bengals:
“Not at all. We know guys go to other teams and that’s just a part of the business. When we face those guys, when we strap it up, we’re going to look forward to inflicting our will against him. We’re looking forward to this season and the men that stayed in our locker room, we’re going to demand their best. And every time we go out, we are going to demand our best.”
His focus this offseason:
“Just training and keeping my body in great shape, visualizing everything I could improve on from last year. Just giving myself a chance. Being healthy for 16 games is always key and just being receptive to anything the team needs and just ready to win. Ready to be a leader, ready to let guys know they need to take it serious. Everyone in that locker room needs to know that, just because we are Steelers, we are not going to just go out there and win games. We have to go out there and play our heart out and really demand to win games, focus on what matters. What matters is the guys in our locker room and the guys that are going to be out there battling with us.”