Steelers News

Alex Highsmith Doesn’t Buy Negative Reports About Dwayne Haskins: ‘He’s Worked His Butt Off Every Single Day’

Dwayne Haskins Mike Tomlin

Dwayne Haskins dressed for a meaningful game as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers first the first time on Sunday, serving as the backup to Mason Rudolph at quarterback, who was starting after Ben Roethlisberger tested positive for COVID-19. Courtesy of Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, his 2021 debut also came marred with negative hearsay.

Commenting post-game in response to a remark that the Steelers would have been up by double digits had Roethlisberger played, Kinkhabwala said, essentially, that Rudolph has not developed in years, and that the Steelers were disappointed in Haskins’ lack of maturation and focus, leaving Roethlisberger as little more than the starter by default. She doubled down on her remarks, appearing on 93.7 The Fan.

They were, at least, enough to drive part of the news cycle, however, as multiple players have since been asked about Haskins. The most recent was Alex Highsmith, who appeared on the Zach Gelb Show and was asked directly about Kinkhabwala’s report, which was the product of overhearing team staff commenting on Haskins during his warm-up throws.

I didn’t hear anything about that, but you know, I try to say that people are trying to make a story out of that because ever since Dwayne’s been here, he’s worked his butt off”, he told Gelb. “He’s worked his butt off every single day at practice and just waiting for his opportunity. And so, I know that when he gets it, he’s going to capitalize on it. He’s a guy that works hard and, I really don’t think that’s true what was said about him”.

Haskins was selected 15th overall out of Ohio State just two years ago by the Washington Football Team. Though a regime change was surely a contributing factor, he ended up being waived toward the end of just his second season, which is quite rare for a first-round quarterback selection.

He went unclaimed via waivers before the Steelers signed him to a Reserve/Future contract in January. Since then, until this past week, there had been no reports of his displaying immaturity or a lack of focus. In fact, he had been praised for how he carried himself while speaking in front of the media, and at least before the preseason finale, he was holding his own on the practice field and in the exhibition games.

We’ve only heard about Haskins once since the regular season started, and that was from Matt Canada in late September. “We feel like he’s a very talented player and he came in and has worked very hard”, the first-year offensive coordinator said. “We feel like there’s a great upside with Dwayne. And I’ve said it a bunch of times. He’s worked very hard. We feel good about where we’re headed, the progress he’s made, and what the future holds”.

Pending Roethlisberger’s status—Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the team will not know until Saturday at the earliest—Haskins may dress again for Sunday’s game to serve as Rudolph’s backup. He’ll probably be extra aware of the eyes on him this time around as he tosses the ball beforehand.

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