The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Friday that two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Antonio Brown has been ruled out for Sunday's AFC Divisional Playoff game against Denver.
Brown had been working to recover from a concussion he suffered late in Pittsburgh's wild-card game against the Bengals. On the final drive, linebacker Vontaze Burfict collided with Brown, a defenseless receiver over the middle on a passing attempt.
The sixth-year receiver has had an incredible 2015 season with 1,834 receiving yards, his third straight season with at least 1,400 yards.
Denver has prepared for this week with not only the expectation that Brown would be healthy on Sunday, but the hope that he'd be healthy.
"If we didn't want them to be there, that means I would want A.B. to be messed up," cornerback Aqib Talib said earlier in the week. "That's a good dude -- a good, family dude, man. We don't want him to be messed up."
For the Steelers' part, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger knows replacing Brown is impossible, but he knows he can rely on the corps of receivers behind him.
"You can never just plug someone in for A.B., because AB is pretty special. He's the best in the world," Roethlisberger said. "But we have guys who have stepped up all year and if A.B. can't go, then we have faith and confidence that the next guy will step up and be the best player they can be."