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Steelers WR Markus Wheaton 'doesn't want to be another name that passes through the program'

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X, Y or Z, Wheaton shouldn't worry about becoming just another receiver. Most of the ones that come and go through Pittsburgh have a fair amount of success while in town.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't need to be a six-yard touchdown catch to win the Super Bowl. Although that certainly would be nice, Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton's aim is a bit more realistic, and that much more endearing.

The second-year receiver spoke with Tribune Review reporter Mark Kaboly after the team's first practice in full pads Monday, speaking about his desire to improve on an injury-plagued rookie season that saw him catch six passes.

"I feel like I feed off the pressure and embrace it," Wheaton told Kaboly. "I don't want to be just another guy in the locker room. I don't want to be just another name that passes through the program."

Most will give Wheaton an "incomplete" grade for his rookie season. A weird set of circumstances behind a broken and surgically repaired pinky finger - which is now bent at a crooked angle - as well as a late start due to NFL graduation rules cost him a significant amount of practice time both in minicamp as well as during the season. Clearly, Wheaton is working to move past his rookie season and onto something better.

Like, how Steelers' split ends always find success in one way or another. From Nate Washington to Santonio Holmes to Mike Wallace to Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers' split ends from 2007 to last year have found themselves the recipients of extensions with other teams - Wallace and Holmes having received significant dollars elsewhere. Not that Wheaton is looking now for another team, he should be confident in knowing the Steelers' x receivers get the ball, and they eventually get paid.

They aren't "other guys in the locker room," and neither is Wheaton.

Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann praises his work ethic and indicates they have confidence in Wheaton, even with position-flexible veteran Lance Moore standing just a few spots over in the slot, and uber-athletic rookie Martavis Bryant being a far better physical fit for the position (read: taller). Wheaton's long-term value with this team may end up being a z receiver (like Antonio Brown) or working out of the slot.

His position may change in that program, but he certainly won't be forgotten, even if the position next to his name on the depth chart changes at some point. For now, he's on the outside of the field and he's dialed inside the team's offense.