Johnson Builds Relationship With Roethlisberger

‘We have big things to do this year’

Jeff Hathhorn
May 27, 2020 - 4:31 pm
Diontae Johnson TD

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 the Fan) – It wasn’t a dream start for Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put they are working on a dream finish.

Johnson said via a zoom call on Wednesday that he didn’t have much interaction with the veteran quarterback as he began his NFL career last year as a third round pick out of Toledo.

“Ben and I started talking at the end of the season,” Johnson said.  “I had to come in and prove to everybody that I can play.  That I am not a bust or whatever.” 

“As the season went on I started contributing and making plays.  He started seeing me make plays and started interacting with me more and talking to me more.  It’s building that trust with one another.”

“I talk to him almost every day now.  That’s my guy.  We got big things to do this year, trying to win a Super Bowl together.”

And it wasn’t an easy start, in the two games Roethlisberger played in 2019, he threw to Johnson nine times and Johnson caught four.  But now it’s all smiles as he’s getting ready to catch passes from Roethlisberger in a bigger role this year.

“That’s crazy!,” Johnson said.  “It’s Big Ben!  He’s great, just being able to work out with him this offseason has been good.”

“Just trying to get the timing down and get a feel for what he likes and doesn’t like.  How he likes to throw the ball on a certain play on certain routes.  Just trying to pick his brain.”

Johnson is currently in Florida but says he hopes to come up next week and throw with Roethlisberger again.

The second year pro is coming off what turned out to be 59 catches for 680 yards and despite multiple quarterbacks, and the slow start, ended up with a catch percentage of 64.

The former Toledo star also revealed he played through a groin and core muscle injury.  He has since had surgery and expects to be cleared in the next couple of days.

“It was the second game of the season, I was just running and I felt my groin get tight,” Johnson said.  “Been doing rehab with a lot of core work.”

Johnson is not sure what will happen with the season or where they will hold training camp.  The Florida native is also thinking about games with no fans.

“It would probably be like a scrimmage,” Johnson said.  “The fans are what get us going and give us energy.  It would be different if we had no one in the stands.  The game wouldn’t feel right.  It would just feel like another practice.”

Those scenarios will play out over the coming months, but for now, Johnson is enjoying his time with his new buddy.

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