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Steelers WR Diontae Johnson on lack of effort: ‘That one play doesn’t define me’

The Steelers’ receiver didn’t attempt to go for a fumble vs. the Bengals

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson received a lot of backlash this week for a sequence of plays in Pittsburgh’s Week 12 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

He didn’t haul in a pass from Kenny Pickett in the end zone, and on the following play, his emotions seemed to get the best of him. Johnson didn’t show any effort on a Jaylen Warren run, walking to the defender in which he was blocking. The ball was fumbled, and Johnson had an opportunity to jump on the ball, but it was scooped up by the Bengals, ending the Steelers’ drive.

The former third-round pick addressed this sequence on Wednesday.

“Nobody is out there trying to mess up,” Johnson said. “I’m human just like everybody else out there. It’s my job, I know what I gotta do... I’m not perfect, I’m just trying to make plays at the end of the day. Sometimes things might not go your way or whatever. I’m just doing the best I can to keep playing, and that’s all I can do... that’s not me as a player. That one play doesn’t define me.”

Johnson finished the day with four catches and 50 yards.

This is not the first time Johnson has been the recipient of backlash. He had 13 drops in 2020, which caused many fans to turn on him. He also reportedly got in an argument with Mitch Trubisky last season in their Week 4 game with the New York Jets, as well as this season with Minkah Fitzpatrick after the loss to Cleveland.

The Steelers will return home to Acrisure Stadium this week to host the Arizona Cardinals as they look to improve to 8-4 and put a firm grasp on a playoff spot.