Before he was a seven-time Pro Bowler, a four-time First-Team All-Pro and arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown was a sixth-round pick out of Central Michigan University.
Despite not receiving substantial attention from scouts and the NFL while he was a Chippewa, Brown honed his famous work ethic on Kelly Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Last weekend, he got a chance to return there to visit his old stomping grounds — and leave them something for the future.
"With Coach [Jim] McElwain taking over the program, I wanted to do something that would help the players perform at their best," Brown said after announcing his donation in January. "These benches really help me stay loose and ready to perform no matter the conditions and I am excited to see how they help current and future Chippewas succeed. CMU will always be a special place for me and I am happy to be able to give back."
"I am so thankful for this gift from Antonio as it will have a tremendous impact on our program," coach Jim McElwain added, who was the quarterbacks coach for the Raiders in 2006. "Being able to have a top-of-the-line product that is used by most NFL teams is a huge asset for us and will help our players perform at their best. It also means a lot for Antonio to invest in the success of our student-athletes and help them flourish just like he did during his time at CMU."
Brown's generosity and willingness to help the next wave of college athletes should help the Chippewas in 2019 and beyond.