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Antonio Brown Claims James Harrison Gave Him CTE in Social Media Rant



Antonio Brown

Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown claimed that he suffers from CTE due to a hit from former teammate James Harrison in a bizarre social media rant on Friday.

CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is a neurodegenerative disease believed to be caused by the kind of repeated head trauma suffered by football players. Several former Steelers players have been diagnosed with CTE, though the disease can only be positively diagnosed after death.

Among the symptoms of CTE are social instability, impulsive behavior, and poor judgment. Due to his outlandish behavior over the last several years, many have speculated that Brown suffers from CTE. In several interviews, Brown always denied that he has CTE. That’s why it was surprising on Friday night when Brown said he thinks that former teammate Harrison might have given him CTE.

“I wanted to tell you guys that I think James Harrison gave me CTE,” Brown said in an Instagram Live stream. “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.”

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict’s crushing hit on Brown in the 2015 Wild Card game is commonly cited as a reason that Brown might have CTE, as he started to behave erratically a few years after the hit. Others maintain that Brown always had character issues, dating back to college at Central Michigan.

Brown completely went off on Patrick Bet-David in November when he was asked if he has CTE after quitting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of a game.

“You guys pick a point in the career that you guys think you can focus on a target,” Brown said. “The same thing I walked off the field for, that I didn’t want to get — CTE — is the same thing they put on me. You guys get uncomfortable because you don’t understand or you try to marginalize. You try to take me back to a moment that you think got me acting this way.”

Brown explained to Bet-David that football is the only way out for a lot of players, especially when coming from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background.

“Every football player is signing up to get CTE, right?” Brown said. “If they don’t act like you think they should act, you’re going to go back to a moment when they got hit and say you got CTE because you’re crazy. … I’m a football player, I took millions of hits, sir. Millions of hits. But, that’s the only moment you seem to focus on because you want to irrationalize my being.”

Brown’s latest incident that created headlines came in January when he shared a sexually-explicit private picture on his Snapchat with the mother of his children. Brown claimed that he was hacked. He also had a standoff with police in Tampa after Brown allegedly assaulted the mother of his children. The charges against him were later dropped.

In October, a Florida judge ruled that Brown owes a delivery truck driver $1.2 million in damages after assaulting him in 2020. Earlier in October, Brown made headlines after a video of him exposing himself to guests in a hotel pool became public.

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