Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is in an extremely tough situation.
Johnson is set to be a free agent after the 2022 season. And after a breakout season in 2021 (107 receptions for 1,161 yards and eight touchdowns), Johnson is looking for a new contract.
The former Toledo star understandably wants to take advantage of the exploding wide receiver market.
That’s led to a difficult situation for Johnson as Pittsburgh opens camp.
Johnson reported to camp this week, but it’s unclear if he’s going to participate in practice or if he’s going to stage a “hold in”.
The talented wide receiver spoke to reporters about the situation on Wednesday.
“I want to be here (in Pittsburgh) a long time,” said Johnson. “That’s up to them. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing.”
Johnson wouldn’t say whether or not he will be a full participant in training camp, though he suggested that if it were up to him, he would be.
WR Diontae Johnson, who’s hoping for a new contract, says if it’s up to him, he’ll be a full participant at training camp, but there’s some things out of his control. Said he’s talked with TJ Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Cam Heyward about their previous contract negotiations.— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 27, 2022
Johnson’s comments come a day after Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin blew off any concerns about his star wide receiver potentially missing practice time.
“I’m not proceeding with any anticipation of any of those type of things, man,” said Tomlin. “He was here on time and did a heck of a job at the conditioning test like everyone else so we keep moving forward.”
It sounds like Johnson wants to stay in Pittsburgh and he wants to be on the field with his teammates. At the same time, he wants to make the best decisions for his future as well. It’s a tough spot to be in, but the good news for Johnson, and for the Steelers, is that it sounds like everyone in Pittsburgh is on the same page.
I don’t know if that means Johnson will be with the Steelers long-term, but it’s at least a good sign that Pittsburgh’s training camp won’t have needless drama hanging over it.
Featured image via Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports