PITTSBURGH -- Coming off four straight 100-catch seasons and approaching his 29th birthday, Antonio Brown's next task is extending his prime years well into his 30s.
Making good on a five-year, $72.7 million contract ($68 million in potential new money) requires a mighty good next three years from Brown. From 2017 to '19 is when nearly $50 million of that money is due. The Pittsburgh Steelers will be rooting for Brown to keep pumping out receptions and touchdowns to validate the contract while lessening any dead money associated with this monster deal.
After the second session of OTAs, Brown isn't hiding from any new-money expectations. He expects more from himself.
"You can always raise the ceiling," Brown said. "You always have to get better or worse. You have to continue to get better."
Brown doesn't need to break down the terms of his contract, but he can break down the process that got him the money. In fact, he does so every day on social media, capturing his various creative workouts with video clips, everything from squats to one-handed catches in sweltering Miami heat.
Brown says he does this to inspire kids to work for their dreams. That requires a competitive drive that was in Brown long before the money came.
When asked about the pressures of a new contract, Brown highlights the work.
"It's pressure every day. It was pressure the day for me to come here, pressure today for me to work here," Brown said. "You've got to love it. It comes with the job. My focus now is helping us win a championship."
Brown's best season came with Martavis Bryant on the other side of the formation for most of it. In 2015, a legitimate deep threat gave Brown more operating room in the open field, resulting in 136 catches.
Brown says he's excited for Bryant's return -- as well as "his growth, his development" -- after being suspended for all of 2016 for violating the league's substance abuse policy. But Bryant will need to prove his reliability over time.
Brown knows he can rely on Ben Roethlisberger. And months after completing his contract, Brown said "of course" he had Roethlisberger's return for a 14th season in mind during negotiations. He wants to play the years of his contract with Roethlisberger -- who contemplated retirement but ultimately committed to 2017 -- throwing him the ball.
"I wasn't surprised [he returned]," Brown said. "Ben is a warrior. He's been through it all. Never questioned his commitment. I wouldn't want to play with anyone else."
Brown at peak performance might just keep Roethlisberger around.