Could Antonio Brown’s cousin, Marquise, replace him on Steelers?
INDIANAPOLIS – Marquise Brown showed up for his interview session Friday at the NFL Combine sporting a gold necklace emblazoned with the word “Hollywood” at the bottom.
It is a testament to Brown’s hometown of Hollywood, Fla., but it also could symbolize the wide receiver’s artistic play on the football field.
One could say such a display of bling also runs in the family. Marquise Brown, considered perhaps the best wideout in this year’s draft class, happens to be the cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown.
And, yes, there is a possibility that while the Steelers are trying to usher Antonio out the door, they could be opening it for Marquise. Brown said he was scheduled to meet formally with the Steelers on Friday night.
Marquise Brown wouldn’t say how he and Antonio are related — “We don’t speak on it.” — and he allowed that whenever they communicate, which is frequently, they don’t focus on Antonio’s issues with the Steelers.
In fact, Marquise seemed to be perplexed when he was asked about Antonio’s recent falling out with the organization.
“What’s going on?” Marquise said.
Pressed further, Marquise didn’t want to take the bait.
“That’s (on) him,” he said. “Whatever he likes to do, I just wish him the best. I wish him nothing but success.”
So if Antonio’s problems aren’t a topic of discussion, what do the cousins talk about?
“Mostly, he’s motivating me and helping me deal with what I’m going through,” Marquise said.
Marquise counts his famous relative as a mentor.
“We work out together, watch film, that’s basically it,” he said. “He shows me how to treat my body in everyday things.”
Although he stands just 5-foot-9 and weighs a slight 166 pounds, Brown is listed as the No. 1 receiver in his class and the No. 13 prospect overall, according the NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah.
Brown has drawn comparisons to Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson.
“He is so smooth & explosive,” Jeremiah wrote on Twitter. “Natural hands and he can run every route with ease.”
Marquise’s cousin, of course, is quick to remind he attained his success, including a four-time, first-team All-Pro selection, despite being a sixth-round draft pick.
“He says I should have no excuse, that whatever round I’m going in, I feel I’ll go higher than him,” Marquise said. “He feels I have no excuses, and he wants me to better than him. That’s what I’m aiming to do.”
Like Antonio, Marquise Brown didn’t take a linear path to college success. Where Antonio attended a prep school before eventually landing at Central Michigan, Marquise attended a junior college for one year before transferring to Oklahoma.
After two years with the Sooners, in which he accumulated 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns in 25 games, Marquise bypassed his final season of eligibility and declared for the draft.
Brown is not participating in any drills at the NFL Combine because of Lisfranc surgery. Brown injured his foot Dec. 1 in the Big 12 championship game and he said he won’t be medically cleared until training camp.
When he does return to the field, Marquise will be intent to show than any on-field comparisons to Antonio are valid. He thinks they share similar attributes.
“I would say his aggressiveness,” Marquise said when asked what trait he most shares with his cousin. “Anytime he gets the ball, he wants to score as well. I feel like in that sense we have the same type of mentality. We want the ball, get the ball and score.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .