Steelers WR Diontae Johnson not fully participating in camp practice with contract situation lingering
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson reported for training camp but wasn’t a full participant in practice as his contract situation continues to play out.
“I acknowledge that he was less than 100% participation,” coach Mike Tomlin said of Johnson on Wednesday, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We’ll continue to manage the circumstance. But right now, my energy and focus is on those that are participating, and I think that’s the appropriate mindset to have from time to time.”
While training camp holdouts are mostly a thing of the past, players seeking new deals have taken to hold-ins as a mode of getting new contracts. Much like Deebo Samuel in San Francisco and DK Metcalf in Seattle, Johnson is in line for an extension ahead of his fourth season.
Last year, Steelers star pass rusher T.J. Watt didn’t participate in on-field workouts in training camp before getting his new deal. Earlier this spring, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick similarly sat out of OTAs and minicamp before signing his new deal.
Johnson said he “paid attention” to his teammates’ situations and how they played out.
“I learned you can’t take stuff personally because it’s business at the end of the day,” Johnson said. “That’s what I’m learning, slowly. It’s just like anything, stuff gets frustrating, but it’s how you respond to it. I’m not letting that get to me at all; I am just going to keep going at it and worrying about the right things.”
After 107 catches, 1,161 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, Johnson proved he’s a go-to wideout en route to his first Pro Bowl nod in 2021. He’s due $2.79 million in base salary in 2022, the final year of his rookie deal.
The Steelers’ modus operandi is to halt contract discussions during the season, which gives the team and Johnson 45 days to hammer out a new deal.
“I want to be here. I want to be here long-term,” he said. “It’s up to [Steelers management]. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”
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