It’s probably not easy for a guy like Donte Moncrief to bounce around the way he has. When rookies come into the league, most imagine spending their entire career with the team that drafted them. Certainly, no one is thinking about free agency and trying to find a new home.
But after spending four years in Indianapolis, offseasons have become busy for a guy like him. Two years ago, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the field, it was a disaster. He caught passes from Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as the Jags made their way through a miserable season. Inked to just a one year deal with them, he hit the free agent market again this year. This time, he’s hoping – and should expect – Pittsburgh to be a better home.
Even with training camp still weeks away, Moncrief told reporters he feels like the Steelers were the right decision.
“Everything and more. I’m so happy to be here, get this timing down with a Hall of Fame quarterback,” he told reporters via the team site. “Work on guys like JuJu, Eli, Switz. They’re keeping me young. Even though I’m the oldest in the room most years, those guys keep me young. Make me want to come to practice and work everyday.”
Moncrief is likely to open the year as the team’s starting X receiver. A position that lends itself to receiving plenty of targets, especially considering defenses will now double JuJu Smith-Schuster, leaving Moncrief one-on-one. Building chemistry with Ben Roethlisberger is critical and to him, has already started. After playing with middling QBs for most of his career, catching passes from #7 was an adjustment.
“Ben definitely throws a different ball. They get up on you fast. You never know when it’s coming. You gotta run every route like you’re getting the ball. I learned that early. Just coming out one of my breaks one time, even today, I was running a post route and I turned around and the ball was almost on my face. Just getting the timing down. It’s going to be fun. You can tell the ball is coming.”
Though it’s far down on the list of traits about a player, Moncrief has seemed eager to speak to the media throughout the offseason. By all indications from his actions and words from WRs coach Darryl Drake, “Crief” has proved himself to be professional on and off the field. A welcomed departure from everything that happened last season.