The Pittsburgh Steelers used the 60th overall selection in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft to add Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver James Washington to the fold, at which time he joined a group that included Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
All of them are now gone, including Washington, who now gets the opportunity to live out a dream after signing with the Dallas Cowboys following the completion of his four-year rookie contract with Pittsburgh. Dallas just traded away Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup is coming off of a torn ACL suffered on January 2.
CeeDee Lamb is now the star of the show there, so it looks like he’ll have a realistic chance to contribute more than he did down the stretch with the Steelers. He had reason to be glad to be out of Pittsburgh regardless, but coming to Dallas makes it all the sweeter for the Stamford, Texas native.
“This is a crazy experience for me. It’s a dream come true, especially growing up two and a half hours from here”, he told the team’s website after signing. “This is like a small-town kid’s dream to play for the Dallas Cowboys, so I’m living it out for sure”.
While the Cowboys may have given themselves the moniker of ‘America’s Team’, they indisputably have a tremendous draw on football fans nationwide, and certainly regionally. There’s no doubt that most football players growing up in the midsouth would dream of playing for ‘the star’ one day. Washington certainly was one of them, and he said he always felt it was a possibility.
“I did, man”, he said, when asked if he thought it would ever happen that he would get the opportunity to play for the Cowboys. “It was definitely a dream of mine, especially that first time we played there. I was like, ‘Man, I could get used to this at the next level’. Dreams do some true if you just keep working”.
He is presumably referring to the August 2014 ‘Cowboys Classic’ game held inside of AT&T Stadium (aka Cowboys Stadium) during his rookie season with Oklahoma State. They lost 37-31 to Florida State, with Washington catching one pass for five yards, but that experience left a lasting impression.
He did get to play in AT&T Stadium during the 2020 season, with the Steelers beating the Cowboys, 24-19, in a game started by Garrett Gilbert. Washington caught one pass in that game, but he made it count, a 17-yarder for a touchdown.
As is generally the case, his family’s loyalties went with him, and suddenly there was a whole group of Steelers fans in Stamford when he was drafted, and for the past four years. But as he told the team’s website, “I guarantee you they’re all back home. They’re all back home with the Cowboys now, I guarantee you”.
His time in Pittsburgh didn’t quite pan out the way that everybody hoped it would, and he kept getting bumped down the depth chart, but I hope for the best for him, and hope he gets the opportunity to enjoy his time working with Dak Prescott and his ‘hometown’ team.