Steelers WR Antonio Brown expected to play against Jaguars
Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown has continued to make significant progress in his recovery from a calf injury this week heading into the divisional playoff game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of ESPN, head coach Mike Tomlin stated on Friday that he expects Brown to take the field on Sunday against the Jaguars.
#Steelers officially list Antonio Brown as questionable for Sunday's divisional round face-off w/ #Jaguars. But when Mike Tomlin was asked, "Do you expect Antonio Brown to play Sunday," his answer was: "Yes."
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 12, 2018
This comes just a couple of days after Brown was a full participant in practice for the first time since suffering the torn calf in Week 15 against the New England Patriots. His return should provide a significant boost to the offense with the primary weapon in the passing game back in the mix.
However, the 29-year-old will have the difficult challenge of going up against arguably the best defense in the league that features a stout cornerback duo of A.J. Bouye and Jaylen Ramsey in the secondary. In the first meeting this season back in Week 5, he had much success posting 10 catches on 19 targets for 157 receiving yards.
His presence will shift standout rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster back to being the secondary option in the passing behind Brown. He has shown he can be a game-changer in first campaign hauling in 58 catches for 917 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. It also alleviates some of the pressure off star running back Le’Veon Bell to be more effective in the running game.
Brown is coming off another stellar season that earned him the lone unanimous All-Pro selection after leading the league with 1,533 receiving yards on 101 catches despite missing the final three games of the season. He finished first in the NFL in receiving yards, 100-yard receiving games (eight), 10-reception games (six), catches per contest (7.2) and catches for at least 20 yards (27). He also finished tied for third in receiving touchdowns (nine), second in receptions for first downs (71), and fifth in catches.