Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes talks playing against close friend Antonio Brown
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes talks about facing Antonio Brown
It took a few questions about Xavier Rhodes’ relationship with Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown for the Vikings’ cornerback to stop and grin, “So, I see, we’re going to talk about me and AB the whole time?”
The inquiries were understandable, considering their story. Not only are Rhodes and Brown two of the top players in the league at their respective positions, but they both attended Miami Norland High School, where Brown graduated in 2006 and Rhodes graduated in 2009.
The two have remained close friends, and even occasionally train together during the offseason. On Sunday, they met in Pittsburgh’s 26-9 victory at Heinz Field.
“It was awesome and it didn’t feel good at the same time,” Rhodes said. “But the game wasn’t about me and him. The game’s about the team and I wanted to win. I battled good and had fun, but at the end of the day we still wanted to win.”
Rhodes and Brown spent a lot of time talking back-and-forth during the game, but Rhodes said it was all in good fun.
“We were just chit-chatting,” he said. “We were just talking. We were just having fun. We’ve been boys for a long time, so we were just talking.”
Brown finished the game with five receptions for 52 yards. He was targeted 11 times. Rhodes four tackles and one pass defended. As for Rhodes’ strategy against his friend? It was simple: “Just play ball.”
“I believe some people get intimidated by the name and the plays he makes,” Rhodes said. “I was just going at it being confident in my game, being confident in what I do and going out there and being physical and just playing my game.”
Still, Rhodes understands the challenge Brown presents.
“He’s going to get yards,” Rhodes said. “They’re going to find ways to get him the ball no matter what because he’s Antonio Brown. He’s one of the best receivers in the league. They’re going to find a way to get him the ball.”