It feels like a lifetime ago but after the Pittsburgh Steelers first loss of the season, Week 2 to the Las Vegas Raiders, Diontae Johnson’s end-game injury was one of the biggest topics. Johnson suffered a knee injury on the final, meaningless play in the team’s loss to the Raiders, missing the Bengals game before returning for Week 4’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Johnson spoke today with reporters for the first time since his injury and was asked for his thoughts on the play and the team’s decision to throw the ball as opposed to taking a knee.
“It’s football. It comes down to the coach’s decision on what he wants to do,” Johnson said via Steelers.com. “And I just go out there and do what I do and I’m supposed to do. And that’s what I did. And unfortunately, a freak play injury happened. Whatever but I’m back now.”
You can check out the tail end of the play in the clip below, Johnson injured going to the sidelines in the waning seconds of a nine-point loss. It’s unclear exactly what type of injury Johnson suffered but it clearly wasn’t significant, missing just one week before returning to play against the Packers.
After Johnson’s injury, it’ll be interesting to see if Mike Tomlin changes his approach in future situations. Ideally, there won’t be any more opportunities, that means the Steelers have lost a game by two-scores, but he may opt to kneel the ball instead of a final, fruitless play.
Johnson said the injury – and the team’s decision – is behind him and his focus is now on beating the Denver Broncos.
“All I’m focusing on is getting ready for this week and I’ll execute on Sunday.”
Despite missing one game, Johnson is second on the team in receptions while first in yards and touchdowns. He’s been the team’s most consistent playmaker, winning short and long, and is by far the team’s best route runner. While he hasn’t avoided injury, he’s avoided the biggest issue which plagued him last season. Drops. According to Pro Football Reference, he’s yet to drop a pass this season after dropping 13 of them in 2020.