PITTSBURGH — James Washington made plenty of waves when he requested a trade from the Steelers. However, it was not known if that was completely true, as Mike Tomlin later denied the report and shook it off. Still, Washington spoke with the media for the first time since the request broke nearly two weeks on Wednesday, and as such, he was heavily asked about it. Washington seemingly sidestepped questions about it, but when explicitly asked if he did request a trade, Washington gave a tasteful, but also very deliberate answer.
“That’s a private conversation,” Washington said when asked if he had requested a trade. “As far as being happy in Pittsburgh, I love it here. Who wouldn’t be happy playing football as their job? So, you know I come into work with a smile on my face. I’m eager to be here with the guys.”
Washington expanded upon if he thought he was being used in the offense effectively. More importantly, he notes that he has had a few conversations with the Steelers coaching staff about his involvement in the offense, especially in a contract year for him.
“It’s been talked about,” Washington said about his role in the offense. “But I’m just trying to do what I can, I just want to show people I can be available and make the plays they want me to make. Just do what I need to do.”
On Wednesday with no Chase Claypool, Washington was able to get some first-team reps. He dazzled in those opportunities, with two touchdowns on the day and a few more nice catches. Washington hopes that with these reps, he simply continues to prove himself on the field.
“Yeah, you know with Chase down, I got more work with the 1s,” Washington said. “All I can do is capitalize on every rep I get.”
Washington is slated to be the team’s primary backup at receiver. He has worked in the slot and on the outside as training camp rolls on. It seems increasingly unlikely that the Steelers will look to move Washington. So, it seems he is making the best out of the situation.