Steelers Gave Donte Jackson Rude Welcome to NFL

Donte Jackson shared how the Steelers gave him a rude welcome to the NFL.
Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA;  Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) waits during the timeout against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 31, 2023; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Carolina Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson (26) waits during the timeout against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at EverBank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports / Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers know how difficult life can be for a rookie cornerback in the NFL. One of your nightmare scenarios is being forced to shadow a player like former Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. Unfortunately for the newest Steelers CB Donte Jackson, that's exactly what happened to him in 2018.

During a successful rookie season with the Carolina Panthers, Jackson had the displeasure of matching up against prime-time Antonio Brown in his first game against the Steelers. On a recent appearance on the Irish Steelers Podcast, Jackson recounted the experience.

"I know we got smacked." Jackson said. "That game was actually on my 22nd birthday. I had to go and guard Antonio Brown all game, so, you know, I didn't get any sleep the night before...I'm a rookie and they tell me like, 'You got number 84.' I'm just like, 'Nah, that's Antonio Brown. You're saying 84 like it's just some regular guy.'" Jackson told them.

Jackson had a heck of a time on his 22nd birthday against Brown. The veteran receiver overpowered and outmaneuvered Jackson the entire game. Making quick work of the young corner, AB torched him for six receptions, 96 yards, and a touchdown. His offensive production helped the Steelers earn a commanding 52-21 victory in the contest.

In Jackson's defense, AB went on to have an incredible 2018 season. Brown was arguably the NFL's best receiver that season, recording 104 receptions, 1,297 yards, and leading the league with 15 touchdown receptions. So Jackson shouldn't feel too bad about being one of the corners who struggled against him that year.

What Jackson wants to forget the most about that night is the big touchdown reception he gave up to AB. In the second quarter of the game, Brown was left all alone in single coverage against Jackson. Ben Roethlisberger immediately took notice of this matchup advantage and capitalized on it, putting a perfect strike in Brown's hands. Brown waltzed into the endzone for a 53-yard catch and score as Jackson watched from the ground.

"I was a huge, huge of Antonio Brown at the time...it was definitely a bittersweet moment for a young corner to come in there. It wasn't a night to remember, I'll tell you that much." Jackson said.

Now that enough time has passed, Jackson doesn't have to worry about AB or any other Steelers giving him another rude welcome. Instead, it's up to Jackson to keep any other receivers from doing this to him this upcoming season.

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Jacob Punturi

JACOB PUNTURI

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