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Calvin Austin III Receives Praise From Steelers WRs Coach: ‘He’s Been Outstanding’

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III is heading into a pivotal Year 3. This could be a make or break year for the young receiver out of Memphis.

Austin has had a rough first two seasons. He was out all of 2022 with a Lisfranc injury and in 2023 he recorded just 17 receptions for 180 yards and a touchdown, which was a 72-yarder against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3.

The Steelers signed wide receivers Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins and Scotty Miller in free agency. They also drafted Roman Wilson in the third round. With the crowded receiver room, Austin knows that he’s fighting for a job.

So far, he’s off to a good start. He’s been turning heads over the last eight weeks in the Steelers’ offseason program.

“He’s been outstanding. That’s a guy that’s gone from here to here in the last eight weeks,” Steelers wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said at minicamp on Tuesday. “It’s been really fun to watch. He’s a worker, he’s intentful, he’s urgent. He wants to be coached. You can see it.

“His game has [improved]. I’m really, really excited for his season if he keeps practicing the way he’s been practicing.”

Steelers WR Calvin Austin III

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Calvin Austin III (19) runs for a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/David Becker)

During an appearance on the Chopping It Up With Swish podcast in March, Austin expressed that he wants to be a dominating receiver and not be known as just a speedster.

“In a broad sense, my goal is just to be a playmaker,” Austin said while getting his haircut at the barbershop. “Real deal, show what I can do every time and anytime the ball is in my hands. … I want to real deal put that time, that work in to where when I’m going to camp, I’m gonna dominate, you feel me? Because I did everything, I put in all the time, resources, effort, and I’m real deal prepared.”

Steelers defensive tackle Breiden Fehoko thinks Austin is set up for a breakout year. He believes Austin will shine in Arthur Smith’s offense.

“Cal, and we talked about it, he is one of the fastest human beings I’ve seen since I’ve been in the NFL,” Fehoko said in an interview with ESPN 92.9 FM in Memphis last month. “I mean, he is a great dude. Cal’s reserved, as you know. But man, I am so excited to see him in this new offense and what they’re able to do, and just unleash him. I mean, you talk about Tyreek Hill type of speed, Cal’s got that. He can take the top off a defense easily. Just look at the Raiders game and what were able to do with him last year.”

Nick Farabaugh contributed reporting from Pittsburgh.