Steelers’ Diontae Johnson apologizes for lack of effort vs. Bengals

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PITTSBURGH — After standing up in front of his teammates to take accountability for not diving for a loose ball on Jaylen Warren‘s fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson addressed his error with reporters Wednesday morning.

“That’s not me as a player,” he said. “One play doesn’t define me, never will. I didn’t come up playing football like that, so obviously it looks bad on film. From here on out, just going forward, just be smart, keep playing ’til the whistle blows.”

Johnson said his teammates didn’t say much when he owned up to his error at a team meeting, part of the Steelers’ in-house system for holding players accountable.

“My teammates, they know how I feel and how I should go about the situation,” Johnson said. “Next time it occurs or whatever, I own up to it. I’m not perfect.”

Johnson later added: “I feel like I did the right thing by standing up in front of the team and telling them, owning up to my mistake. All I can do is just move forward.”

Johnson, who said he expects to remain in the starting lineup against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, also pushed back on any narrative that the play defines him as a player.

Coach Mike Tomlin addressed the play, which took off on social media for Johnson’s perceived lack of effort a play after his would-be touchdown catch was ruled incomplete, in his weekly Tuesday news conference.

“We got to take care of the ball,” Tomlin said. “It is our desire. It’s how we construct victory, and so Jaylen’s got to do a better job there. Diontae can’t let the emotions of the previous down affect his next down, but I’ll give him an opportunity to address that with you guys. I’ll give him an opportunity to address that with his teammates.”

As he said after the game, Johnson reiterated Wednesday that he didn’t realize the ball was live in the moment.

“I didn’t know the play was still going,” he said. “If I could make the play again, I’d jump on the ball.”

He also added: “Nobody is out there just trying to mess up. I’m human just like everybody else out here. I’m saying it’s my job. I know what I got to do, and like I said, I’m not perfect. …

“Sometimes things might not go your way or whatever, but I’m doing the best I can to just keep playing, and that’s all I can do is just keep trying.”



Source : ESPN