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Steelers OTAs Recap, Day 3: Chase Claypool addresses Diontae Johnson’s absence, and Year 3

The Pittsburgh Steeles wrapped up their third day of OTAs, and it is time to check in on what went down.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers OTA Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back on the field for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) Thursday, and for those who haven’t been paying attention, this isn’t breaking news. The Steelers have been participating in OTAs for the last few months, but Phase 3, which just started, gets the most news.

In case you don’t know, Phase 1 of OTAs is essentially just workouts with the strength and conditioning staff, Phase 2 is more position specific training/drills and Phase 3 is the most football-like of all OTAs. It is Phase 3 which is where teams can do 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. No contact, no pads, but plenty of news to go around. Before going any further, it is important to note these workouts are 100% voluntary.

There was plenty of news on Day 3, and in this article I will dive into those, as well as share some video fans might enjoy checking out!

Let’s get to the news...

Chase Claypool talks Diontae and Year 3

There were bright spots, and low spots, in 2021, and Chase Claypool had both types of moments last season. There were the highlights, and the mind-numbing mistakes. Either way, Claypool has been at Steelers OTAs ready to develop a rapport with the new quarterbacks on the team, and to begin working on his craft for Year 3 in the NFL.

Of course, Claypool was asked about the attendance of Diontae Johnson, and he not only spoke up for Johnson’s overall work ethic, even away from the team, but warned fans to not read too much into Johnson staying away from the team for these voluntary workouts.

Speaking of his 2021 performance, Claypool is willing to admit he had his short-comings, but wasn’t about to call last season a complete wash. The hope is he learns from his mistakes, and accentuates the positives heading into the 2022 season.

Claypool spoke with the media, in an open locker room format, for the first time in his professional career. You can check out the entire interview in the player below:

Pickens addresses the famous draft day photo

After the 2022 NFL Draft, one big part of the post-draft media circus is to get the players’ reactions to getting the call they have been drafted. Often times the reaction is almost worth an entire article. Who can forget the emotion of James Conner when he was drafted by the Steelers? How about JuJu Smith-Schuster jumping into the ocean celebrating? Well, in 2022 George Pickens stole the show, but in a different way.

The photo of Pickens staring at the television while watching his name being announced at the draft became an internet sensation, and on Thursday Brian Batko of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked Pickens about the picture.

T.J. Watt on new defensive coordinator

The Steelers defense had a sub-par season, by their lofty standards, in 2021, and there is plenty of change coming their way. Mainly in the fact Teryl Austin takes over for the retired Keith Butler at defensive coordinator, and on top of that Brian Flores will bring his own touch to the defensive front.

T.J. Watt tells Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review how he doesn’t foresee too much change in the defense this upcoming season...

To hear more from Watt’s media session after Thursday’s OTA workout, check out the video in the player below: