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Brown says he deserves new deal from Steelers

LATROBE, Pa. — Wide receiver Antonio Brown said he never planned to hold out but made it clear Sunday the Pittsburgh Steelers should give him a new contract.

Brown is due $6.25 million in the fifth year of a six-year, $43 million contract. He has caught an NFL-record 264 passes in the past two seasons.

"You have to take care of your guys," Brown said after Sunday's practice. "If a guy underperforms, you get rid of him. If a guy overperforms, you take care of him."

Brown, who said agent Drew Rosenhaus is expected to meet with the Steelers, was responding to a question about whether he should be the exception to the Steelers' long-standing policy not to renegotiate contracts for non-quarterbacks unless a player has one year left on his contract.

Antonio Brown says he never planned to hold out but he made it clear he wants the Steelers to reward him for his star play. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

General manager Kevin Colbert cited this policy on Steelers Nation Radio this week, saying Brown is a "great player" who understands the team's business approach.

Brown said the Steelers have been "first class" to him in the past, including a contract restructure last year to move $2 million of future salary into 2015 as a way to please the talented receiver.

Another restructure of Brown's contract is a possibility.

Brown feels he is different, and his numbers validate that claim, as he posted 136 catches for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns last year despite playing four games without star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Brown ranks 13th among wide receivers in 2016 base salary, with Chicago's Alshon Jeffery more than doubling Brown's income as a result of the franchise tag he received from the Bears. Brown's $8.392 million per-year average, including signing bonus money, ranks 19th among receivers.

Brown, who turned 28 on July 10, said he's not worried about the particulars of a potential new deal, only getting better. Another elite receiver, Houston Texans' DeAndre Hopkins, was expected to hold out for a new contract but that absence lasted a day.

"I'm a first-class guy in the relationship [with the Steelers], and the first step to getting better is showing up," Brown said.

When asked about Brown's situation, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin wouldn't address his contract concerns, only his work on the field each day.

"He's here. He's working," Tomlin said.

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