Antonio Brown has revealed his belief that former NFL player James Harrison delivered the vicious hit that has given him brain damage, which many have attributed to his erratic behavior over the past several years. The former Pittsburgh Steeler held an Instagram Live session on his account over the weekend, where he made the shocking accusation against his former teammate.
“I wanted to tell you guys that I think James Harrison gave me CTE,” Brown, 34, said. “James Harrison had an illegal helmet for over 20 years in the NFL, and he hit me one time. And, ever since he hit me, I’ve been super aggressive. So blame James Harrison for my CTE.”
CTE is the common term for Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain condition believed to be linked to repeated head injuries, particularly among football players.
Harrison, who played with Brown for several seasons during his career, seemingly responded to the former wideout’s claims with a social media post of his own.
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“Me realizing why I had 150 text messages this morning,” the 44-year-old wrote atop a GIF of actor Idris Elba’s reaction while eating spicy chicken wings on the digital series Hot Ones.
While AB has shot down speculation regarding his mental health in the past, his recent comments are the first time he’s publicly attributed his aggression and questionable actions to a possible brain injury. In 2022, during an appearance on the I Am Athlete podcast, the former All-Pro player denied that his decision to leave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the 2021 NFL season was due to him being mentally unstable.
“Why every time something happens bad, or how someone reacts, ‘Aw, he’s crazy, there’s something wrong with his mental health?’” Brown asked at the time. “There’s nothing wrong with my mental health. Someone told me to get the f**k out of here. I’m not passive-aggressive. An NFL Super Bowl team coach told a guy on the team who’s playing hurt ‘get the f**k out of here.’”
Brown, who is currently out of the NFL, has yet to suit up for an NFL team since his departure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after leaving MetLife Stadium stadium during the team’s Week 17 matchup against the New York Jets.
Harrison, the Steelers’ all-time sacks leader, played fifteen seasons in the NFL, with the majority of his career being spent in Pittsburgh. He won two Super Bowl titles with the franchise during his tenure, was a five-time Pro Bowl selection, and is the only undrafted NFL player to win Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year.