OK. So this is just a funny story to tell. Yes. I, in fact, was tackled by Antonio Brown on the sideline. Sean Proctor describes it as though he mauled me, but it may be a bit over exaggerated. Here's how it went down. I was at the 20-yard line while Dan LeFevour and the rest of the offense lined up at about the 9-yard line. So if they were going to get a first down, I was in good range to make some images.
LeFevour hiked the ball and immediately passed it to Brown along my sideline. Awesome. As I watched him through my viewfinder, I was excited as I shot. He came closer and closer and that's when I threw the camera to my stomach and cradled it like a newborn in my arms, shielding it of course from the mack truck heading my way. A Northern Illinois defender pushed him out of bounds and he wasn't about to stop.
Just before the play started, a CMU medic on the sideline told me he was thankful for me kneeling behind the media line. He said too often has he seen a photographer get injured because they are not behind that line. Well, needless to say, he and the woman behind me were gone in a flash when it came to Brown charging forward for extra yardage. Ironic.
So there I was, kneeling before Antonio Brown headed straight for me at full speed. I braced, and took the hit. It was hard not to, as the woman behind me pushed me forward to protect herself. I learned I can take a hit from Antonio Brown today, and if I take nothing else away from it but a good story, I am fine with that. I definitely enjoyed shooting the game. Oh, and as for Sean Proctor, who watched all of it happen as he stood next to me without socks on with poorly insulated shoes? Brown's cleats penetrated his foot, especially his toes. These are our battle scars. Plus, hey ... if Brown goes Pro, what a cool story to tell people.