Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Antonio Brown was named as the cover athlete for the “Madden 19” video game, EA Sports announced Wednesday.
Brown is shown flashing a wide grin and without his helmet in his feature photo, which represents a departure from the action shots on recent Madden covers.
“To be on the cover is a real honor I’ve wanted to always have because I have so much connection with the game,” Brown said. “Growing up as a kid I played Madden all the time, was being inspired by the players in the game. And now to be on the cover, it’s a special feeling.”
Brown is one of seven players with a perfect 99 rating in the game.
He follows New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (2018) and tight end Rob Gronkowski (2017) as well as New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (2016) and then-Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman (2015) as recent stars featured on the cover of the popular video game.
The 30-year-old Brown is the third wide receiver to be on the cover, joining Beckham and former Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson (2013).
Brown also dismissed the notion of the “Madden curse.”
“You gotta stay focused. Obviously this is a tremendous honor, you can’t get caught up in worrying about what others believe,” the six-time Pro Bowl selection told SI. “I’m extremely focused and excited to be in everyone’s household, to let them see me in my Steelers uniform representing my club.”
Brown’s 733 receptions for 9,910 yards are more than any other wideout since he entered the league as a sixth-round pick of the Steelers in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Signed to a four-year, $68 million contract extension in February 2017, Brown went out and had 101 receptions for an NFL-best 1,533 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games this past season. As a result, Brown won the AFC Offensive Player of the Year Award after recording his fifth consecutive 100-catch season.
“AB has taken the league by storm the past few years and is arguably one of the best wide receivers to ever play in the NFL,” said Josh Rabenovets, senior brand director at EA Sports. “His game is hot, he’s got a ton of personality on and off the field. He was an easy choice for the Madden NFL 19 cover.”