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Donte Jackson Reflects on Time Antonio Brown Welcomed Him to the NFL



Donte Jackson

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Donte Jackson is now in the Black and Gold, but in a recent appearance on the Irish Steelers podcast, he reflected on the time that he got torched by Antonio Brown in his rookie season in Carolina.

“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.'”

The Steelers destroyed the Panthers, 52-21, on Thursday Night Football in Week 10 of the 2018 season. Ben Roethlisberger tossed five touchdowns and had a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3. Brown caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Brown’s touchdown was a 53-yarder, and Jackson was the victim on the score.

“I was a huge fan of Big Ben. Huge, huge fan of Antonio Brown at the time,” Jackson said. “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.”

Donte Jackson

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Donte Jackson at OTAs on May 22, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Steelers acquired Jackson in the Diontae Johnson trade package to Carolina in March. He’s slotted to be the starting outside corner opposite of Joey Porter Jr.

Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin praised Jackson at minicamp. He also explained how he brings a different dimension to the secondary compared to Porter.

“First, he fits in well. I think he’s a real pro,” Austin said of Jackson. “He goes about his business. He asks good questions. He does the things that a good pro will do, and I think the way he’ll fit in because he does give us a different type of cover guy than Joey(Porter). Joey’s going to be a line of scrimmage, tall, get his hands on people. Donte’s going to have the ability to play off and can really run. So, he gives us a little bit of a nice matchup in terms of coverage and some flexibility because he has played and done some things inside. So, I like where he fits that way. And so, I think it’s good for us. You know, we’d like to have guys that can do multiple things in a secondary and he fits that.”

Jackson is ready to create an elite duo with Porter.

“First thing that happened when I got traded here was they said ‘Get ready to match guys, get ready to go follow guys, get ready to go do what we know you do well,’” Jackson said. “Tackling is one of my strong suits – people don’t think at my size that I want to come up and hit. So that’s another thing that stood out and why they knew I’d be a perfect corner in this system and show my talents, what I’ve been doing my whole career, on this big stage.”