As players started to report Wednesday morning for their first practice of training camp at Latrobe PA, WR Diontae Johnson took time to speak with reporters and media.
When asked by one of the media members if he intends to be a full participant when the team kicks of their team drills and scrimmage sessions due to his contract situation, he remained noncommittal on the issue.
“We’ll see,” Johnson said to reporters according to Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in his Twitter feed.
The topic of a potential “hold-in” by Johnson was discussed ad nauseam during OTA and mandatory minicamp by the contributors here at Steelers Depot, highlighting that Johnson may report to camp without a new deal done as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, but that there could be a possibility that he doesn’t participate in all the drills and team sessions similar to what T.J. Watt did last season before he signed to a contract extension.
Adamski included in the tweet above that Johnson’s agent has advised him to not participate in team sessions until he has a new deal hammered out with the team, but according to ESPN’s Brookie Pryor who covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, Johnson would be out there for all team sessions if the choice falls on him.
“I’m taking it a day at a time,” Johnson said via 93.7 The Fan’s Jeff Hathhorn. “I can’t be worried about the wrong stuff because if I worry about that it’s going to get in the way of my business on the field. I can only control what I can control and keep praying I get something done. If I don’t, I’ll keep working.”
Johnson has made it known that he would like to stay in Pittsburgh past the 2022 season, and his actions have shown as much. He showed up to most of the OTA sessions earlier this offseason and participated in mandatory minicamp, looking to be on the field with his teammates and hone his craft for the upcoming 2022 season. Should Johnson not get a deal done with Pittsburgh prior to the start of the regular season, He will have to bet on himself and produce at a high level again this season like he did in 2021 to either have Pittsburgh or another suitor via free agency sign him to a long-term extension, or force Pittsburgh’s hand and place the franchise tag on him for 2023.
“I want to be here long term,” Johnson said. “It’s up to them.”