These days, wide receiver Antonio Brown is known as the former All-Pro who lost his mind and played on three teams in two years, but kicking a punter in the head may be the most memorable moment of his career.
During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ opening game of the 2014 NFL season, Brown was returning a punt against the Cleveland Browns when he tried to jump over the punter, but came up short and put his cleat into the face of Spencer Lanning, creating one of the craziest visuals in NFL history.
Then a member of the Steelers, Brown began the prime seasons of his career, coming off his second Pro Bowl selection in three seasons. Entering his fifth year in Pittsburgh, Brown made up one of the best trios in the league alongside Ben Roethlisberger and Le’Veon Bell.
During this stretch of seasons, Steelers’ Antonio Brown was arguably the best wide receiver in the league. But his most memorable play as a member of the Steelers came as a punt returner.
Almost halfway through the second quarter in Heinz Field, Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning kicked the ball from his own goal line. Lanning booted the ball all the way back to the Pittsburgh 28-yard line with Brown fielding the punt and immediately making two Cleveland players miss.
At the Steelers’ 40-yard line, Brown was surrounded by opposing players. In the frame at one point, you can see nine Browns around him with three on the ground. He then hits top speed while passing mid-field.
This is where the problem arises for both Brown and Lanning. With Lanning’s heels planted on the 36-yard line, Brown decides to try and leap the punter instead of following the three blockers he had ahead of him for a walk-in touchdown.
But when he reached the punter, the Steelers receiver jumped but was nowhere near high enough to clear any NFL-sized player. His foot came down on Lanning’s head, driving his head downward like a karate kick to the facemask. Brown was then tackled from behind and went down at about the 25-yard line with penalty flags being thrown all over the place.
Antonio Brown Kicks Punter
The punt return went for 48 yards before the unnecessary roughness call that brought it back for a 15-yard penalty. Brown was also eventually fined $8,200 dollars by the league for the play.
During the 2014 season, Brown was named to his first All-Pro First Team with 129 catches for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also returned 30 punts for 319 yards and a touchdown that season.
Brown is still currently a free agent, not having played in a football game since being released by the New England Patriots after one game, catching four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown from Tom Brady during the 2019 season.