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Calvin Austin III Says It’s Up to Steelers WRs to Fill Diontae Johnson’s Shoes

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Pittsburgh Steelers WR Calvin Austin III

There’s a lot of question marks with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receivers corps heading into the 2024 season, especially at the No. 2 spot. As it stands now, the receivers group is a bottom-tier unit.

The Steelers never properly replaced the loss of trading Diontae Johnson to the Carolina Panthers. There’s been talks of a trade for a big-named wide receiver, but nothing has materialized. Perhaps at some point in training camp or before the season general manager Omar Khan will strike a deal.

Roman Wilson could fill the No. 2 role, but it’s not a certainty with a rookie wideout. Third-year receiver Calvin Austin III thinks it’s up the young Steelers receivers to fill the shoes of Diontae Johnson.

“Diontae left his legacy here. You don’t replace that,” Austin told Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review at OTAs. “You just have new players step up and do their jobs.”

“What Diontae did on the field, we’ll expand on that,” Austin said. “We have a wide receiver room where everybody has bought in. We’re ready to work and take advantage of those opportunities.”

Johnson’s production will be tough to match. His route-running abilities are certainly impressive, but I wouldn’t consider him a legacy player. He had instances were he lacked effort and displayed poor leadership. The infamous play in Cincinnati was a prime example.

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson against the Cincinnati Bengals, Nov. 26, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

At OTAs, Austin discussed his mentality as he prepares for a training camp battle this summer. The Steelers have a slew of secondary receivers that Austin will have to compete with for a roster spot. Pittsburgh added Van Jefferson, Quez Watkins and Scotty Miller in free agency this offseason. They also signed Jaray Jenkins to the club on Monday.

“I would be like that if they told me I had a guaranteed spot,” Austin said. “If they brought in nobody, if they brought in everybody. I’m a walk-on. I literally always have that mindset. Nothing can change it. It’s just business as usual.”

Calvin Austin III, a fourth-round pick in 2022, had a rough first two seasons with the Steelers. 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.

Austin thought his long touchdown against Las Vegas would have been his coming out party.

“I mean, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. It felt like it was almost a coming-out party,” Austin said about his 72-yard touchdown against the Raiders. “I finally got to go deep. But, then things happened.”

 

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Jesus Christani
Jesus Christani
June 4, 2024 9:53 am

I am getting tired of hearing about, “Mr. Walk Away From A Fumble.”

How many playoff and Super Bowl games did The Pittsburgh Steelers win with Diontae?

ZERO!

That tells me, up front, that he wasn’t as important to The Pittsburgh Steelers’ winning cause as many seem to think he was and he won’t be going forward, either…

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ WR room is set… unless Aiyuk can land in The Steel City…

HERE WE GO, STEELERS, HERE WE GO!

Edward Carmichael
Edward Carmichael
June 4, 2024 10:03 am

as a true Steelers fan, wide receiver Calvin Austin lll can do a great job in replacing Diontae Johnson

AllenFant
AllenFant
June 4, 2024 12:28 pm

I think that he will get a lot more attention and passes thrown to him. I also think that he will definitely have a breakout year this season.