Bill Cowher: 'We know too much' about Antonio Brown, someone who 'likes to see his name in the media'

Antonio Brown will never play for Bill Cowher, who retired as the Steelers' head coach four years before Brown's rookie season in Pittsburgh. But if he was still coaching, and if he had Brown on his team, Cowher knows how he would handle the situation.

Cowher, a current NFL analyst for CBS Sports who served 15 seasons as Pittsburgh's head coach, was recently asked about Brown, who continues to be at the center of the NFL news cycle after forcing his way out of Pittsburgh this offseason. Over the past two weeks alone, Brown has been dominating the headlines with stories about his mysterious absences from Raiders camp, his frostbitten feet to his reported retirement threat if he would not be allowed to use his old Steelers helmet (Brown lost his appeal and will return to the Raiders this week).

"I think we know too much [about Brown]," Cowher said during an interview with CBS Sports HQ. "I think too much was made out of [his trade from Pittsburgh]. I think every time he does something … he's a guy that likes the attention.

"Really, I think when you talk about his play on the field, he's a very good receiver," Cowher continued. "And I think in today's transparent world, social media, he likes to see his name in the media, he likes the attention. I just think if you're coaching a guy like that, you kinda just hope he doesn't become a distraction from the standpoint of saying something to the opponents. If he's on your team, let him do his thing as long as he's out there and producing as he's getting paid to do."

Cowher didn't hesitate with his answer when asked why the receiver position seems to be the one that creates the most self-centered football players.

"Fantasy football," Cowher said. "I think fantasy football has made that position and has created a kind of selfishness and a way for us to judge players. It's hard for them not to look at that … I think, when you talk about a team sport yet we're talking about individuals wanting to have specific numbers. I think fantasy football has made that position a lot more, I would say, divisive for a team from the standpoint of they're looked upon a little bit differently than offensive linemen or defensive linemen or any other player besides quarterbacks ... running backs, obviously because they get touches. So I just think fantasy football has created more of an individual sport when it really is a team sport."

Cowher -- who coached during the more formative years of fantasy football -- had the luxury of coaching Hines Ward, an unselfish receiver who put team success over his own individual success. While Ward did retire as Pittsburgh's career leader in catches, yards, and touchdowns, he did not compile the same type of numbers that other receivers of his era -- Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison -- compiled on their way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a distinction that Ward has yet to receive.

Ward did, however, retire with two Super Bowl rings and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XL. Owens, Moss, and Harrison combined to win one Super Bowl between them and were never named the MVP of a Super Bowl.


"Sometimes, [Ward's] numbers were not what they could have been because that just wasn't our offense," Cowher continued. "So that's why, when you go back to the numbers, the fantasy football, I know when I was coaching, I was probably not the best team to pick in terms of offensive football for fantasy players, because we were more interested in winning games than having big numbers. And I think not only did Hines buy into that, but he also exemplified that."

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