PITTSBURGH — Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson unexpectedly missed Thursday after practicing in Wednesday’s session. While Calvin Austin III and Allen Robinson II returned after missing Wednesday’s session, Johnson was notably absent. But he returned on Friday for practice, and seemed to be in good spirits.
Johnson was sick and sent home on Thursday. Pittsburgh welcomed Johnson back on Friday once he felt better about himself. On Friday, Kenny Pickett Johnson, and other wide receivers worked on their rhythm and timing on different routes.
It has become a tumultuous week for Johnson, who has been under national fire, but is putting it behind him now and hoping to move forward.
Johnson regretted his lack of effort on Jaylen Warren’s fumble in Pittsburgh’s 16-10 win over the Bengals on Sunday. On Wednesday, Johnson got in front of his teammates to address the lack of effort, and he expressed that on film, it was naturally a bad look.
He still had a solid game but should have had an even better game. If the Steelers offense will work, Johnson is a crucial part of that equation.
Johnson expects to be in the starting lineup after expressing that extreme regret. He says his teammates did not have much of a reaction to what he said and that it was more about accountability and owning up to it in the locker room rather than doing anything else. If he could do it again, Johnson says he would jump on the football and let his teammates know it won’t happen again.
“They didn’t really say anything,” Johnson said. “It was about me owning up to my mistakes and letting them know it won’t happen again. Like I said, I didn’t know the play was still going. If I could make the play again, I would jump on the ball.”
Now, the team wants to move along and focus on the Arizona Cardinals, who have an offense that has weapons and firepower despite their 2-10 record. The Steelers would be wise not to overlook what an aggressive team is.