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Rossi: Money isn't it between 'E' and 'AB'

| Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, 10:27 p.m.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo.

A few days ago, E heard his phone buzz. AB had sent him a text.

Man, we (have) come a long way. It's crazy.

They have come a long way.

But it isn't crazy that Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown have become two of the toughest to defend football players on the planet.

They practically arrived in the NFL that way.

Arrived together, too.

Couldn't get to where they wanted that way, though.

Can't get to where they both want to go back — the Super Bowl — without going through one another, either.

Six years later, there remains only that one bone for two members of the Steelers' former “Young Money Crew.”

“Mike Tomlin came out with something called ‘two dogs, one bone,' and it was pretty much saying, ‘I've got two guys and one helmet,' ” Sanders said Thursday.

A grin formed as he recalled that rookie season with the Steelers, those bond-building battles with Brown to earn a chance to play on Sundays in the fall of 2010.

Brown pushed Sanders. Sanders pushed Brown.

During the pushing, both presumed the senior member of their crew would push them out the door.

No way the Steelers would let Mike Wallace walk.

There's always a way.

The Steelers are the Steelers because they let somebody like Wallace walk. The Broncos are the Broncos because they bring somebody like Sanders in.

But Brown is two seasons from unrestricted free agency. Sanders could hit the open market after next season.

So it's about to be that time again for these two from the “Young Money Crew.”

But for now, it's all about Sunday, which is shaping up as their time to shine.

Unless you believe either Peyton Manning or Ben Roethlisberger have right arms healthy enough to throw way down the field on Sunday.

Don't count on it.

Do count on a lot of short passes, on runs after catches by Sanders and Brown.

And, yes, do count on Brown.

“I actually just talked to him the other day, just checking on him because of the concussion,” Sanders said.

“If he's not in the game, I'll be highly surprised. If he is who I think he is — and he's built like me — he's going to give it his all to try and play in the game.”

That sounded like a dig.

But then I remembered what truly brought Sanders and Brown together in the first place.

It wasn't the 2010 draft. It wasn't the Steelers. It wasn't Tomlin's “dogs and bone” analogy.

About a year ago, Sanders was told not to send text messages while recovering from a concussion. He knew the best way to deliver that message to Brown was to get it into print.

“I hope he's smart about it,” Sanders said. “He's having a great career. I don't want him to risk it.”

Never really was about the money with these two from “Young Money Crew.”

Money can't buy what's between E and AB.

Rob Rossi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rrossi@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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