New Cowboys wideout James Washington reveals what went wrong with Steelers

New Cowboys wideout James Washington reveals what went wrong with Steelers

March 26, 2022

Wide receiver James Washington looks to reinvent himself with the Dallas Cowboys after things did not go according to plan for him while he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Highly-touted coming out of college, new Dallas Cowboys wide receiver James Washington reflected on what went wrong for him during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The native Texan and Biletnikoff winner coming out of Oklahoma State often got lost in the shuffle in Pittsburgh. Despite the Steelers being a franchise where wide receivers typically flourish, Washington never lived up to the hype as Martavis Bryant’s replacement in the 2018 NFL Draft. He comes to the Cowboys on a one-year deal hoping to prove to everyone that he can play better.

“I feel like with everything that transpired at Pittsburgh, I didn’t really get to show my full self,” said Washington in an interview with USA TODAY. “We had a crowded room at receiver. But nothing against anyone else, I feel like there’s a lot of meat left on the bone. I didn’t really get to fully develop myself and make strides like I wanted to.”

“I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity in Dallas. Do what I can so that they get 110 percent of me and I can reach my full potential.”

Washington joins a receiving corps featuring a former first-round pick in CeeDee Lamb and a recently paid veteran in Michael Gallup, but one that is without Amari Cooper, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth-round pick.

James Washington reflected on what went wrong for him with the Steelers

Overall, it feels like a combination of Pittsburgh having established No. 1 and No. 2 receiving options upon his arrival, as well as Ben Roethlisberger’s notable decline as a passer. Washington may have won the Biletnikoff while at Oklahoma State, but he was not usurping Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the Steelers’ receiving depth chart right out of the gate as a rookie.

Though Brown left and Smith-Schuster regressed, Roethlisberger got hurt and it was The Mason Rudolph Show with some Duck Hodges sprinkled in there. While Washington played his best ball with his college teammate rifling him the pigskin, it became apparent Rudolph was not going to be the heir apparent for Big Ben in the Steel City. Once Roethlisberger returned, things took a turn.

The arrival of Chase Claypool and the emergence of Diontae Johnson had Washington lost in the shuffle. He was never able to build the rapport with Roethlisberger like he had with Rudolph. Simply put, Washington could never be more than the No. 3 wide receiver option at any point of his run with the Steelers. Good for him getting a new opportunity to start fresh with the Cowboys.

It is not a good look to fail as a receiver with Pittsburgh, but Washington looking to prove himself.