Pittsburgh Steelers fans – it’s time to officially say good-bye to Antonio Brown after 9 seasons in the black and yellow.
But Brown is still only 30 years old and has plenty left in the tank. He’s not going anywhere any time soon…well…except he’ll be going to a different team, of course. He also rarely gets injured, which is a good sign of career longevity in the league.
But how much exactly does Brown have left? The league’s best receiver had this to say when he was spilling his heart (and sweat) on social media:
“I think I done done everything. What y’all think? What’s left for me to do? Win a Super Bowl? Hey, gotta be the right team for that, right? Who wants smoke? I’ve got a lot of fuel built up. When this fuel turns to smoke, hope you’re in shape, hope you’re ready to go the distance. I’m telling you, I’m ready to go 36 rounds, like a heavyweight, ya heard…”
So where did the 36 rounds come from?
In professional heavyweight boxing, the maximum number of rounds a fight can last is 12 rounds, not 36. So, I’m not sure where Brown is getting 36 from. Perhaps he actually thinks heavyweight boxers can go 36 rounds? Who knows.
Then I thought, could he be referring to the 36 chambers a kung fu warrior has to go through to become a Shaolin Master?
Any Wu-Tang Clan fans out there?
The Wu-Tang Clan, for those of you who may not know, were a hip-hop group who were very popular especially in the 1990s, composed of notable rappers you may have heard of, such as Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and several other members. The group was formed in Staten Island, New York in 1991, and in 1993, they released their first album (and probably their best in my opinion), Enter the Wu-Tan (36 Chambers).
The 36 Chambers
The origin of the 36 chambers comes from a kung fu film in 1978 called The 36TH Chamber of Shaolin. The story goes, in short, that a kung fu disciple, San Te, trains to become a Shaolin Master by going through the Shaolin Temple with 35 chambers. In each chamber, San Te is trained in one facet in the kung fu martial arts (for example: balance, eyesight, arm strength, broadsword technique, etc.).
When San Te completes the 35th chamber, he wants to create a 36th chamber where he can train ordinary citizens the fundamentals of kung fu so they can defend themselves from any danger. San Te’s request leads the Shaolin Temple to banish him. Despite banishment, however, San Te carries out his mission to train others. Then San Te returns to the Shaolin Temple to duel its prized fighter, Tien Ta. After defeating Tien Ta, San Te officially creates the 36th chamber and his desire to train the ones who cannot defend themselves becomes a reality.
Anyway, sorry for the ancient Chinese history lesson. But could Antonio Brown be really making a reference to the 36 chambers of the Shaolin Temple? Or…is this an indication that Brown will play (or “fight”) in this league until he turns 36 years of age? Or am I really reaching here? It’s quite possible!
Will Brown match Rice’s 20-season mark?
Brown will be turning 31 in July before the 2020 season, which means if he’s hinting that he will retire at age 36, that would mean it’s possible the 2025 season would be his last. That would be a 15-year NFL career for Brown, which isn’t really that crazy of a thought considering Larry Fitzgerald is still playing at age 35, and Jerry Rice didn’t retire until he was 42. Can Brown make it 20 years in the NFL like Jerry Rice had? I’m not sure, but Brown has mentioned before that he actually would rather not play into his 40’s.
This past year, Brown was interviewed by Simon A. Chester of the Steelers Wire, and when asked if he would play into his 40’s, Brown had this to say:
“Nah I’ve got too many kids to raise man, I’m not playing until I’m 45. I’m not chasing Jerry Rice. No one will remember who’s number one in the NFL in receiving yards, they will have to Google that, they not going to remember that and even if they do that don’t give me any credibility in life.”
So based off of what Brown had said, it is certainly plausible that he could hang up the cleats when before his 40’s and when he’s 36 years of age after the 2025 season. But no matter when Brown decides to retire, I think we can all agree that AB84 will continue to be open for business and won’t be closing any time soon.