“It’s crazy. It’s Big Ben. He’s great. Just being able to work out with him this offseason has been good. Just getting the timing down, get a feel for him, what he likes, what he doesn’t like. How he likes to throw the ball on a certain play, certain routes. Just trying to pick his brain. I might go back up there next week and work out with him again. Just getting that timing down and get a bond with each other so we can build that trust. — Diontae Johnson.
From Teresa Varley, Steelers.com:
Going into the 2019 season, Diontae Johnson was excited about the opportunity to work with Ben Roethlisberger. But his time on the field was limited after Roethlisberger’s season ended after just two games with an elbow injury that required surgery.
The outlook for 2020 for the duo to work together is much brighter, and they have already spent some time this offseason getting prepared.
“Me and Ben started talking during the end of last season. I had to prove to everybody I can play, that I am not a bust. As the season went on, I started contributing, making plays. He was 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’ve got things to do this year and we are trying to win the Super Bowl together.”
In the meantime Johnson is focusing on getting himself back to full strength. During a Zoom call on Wednesday he said he is still coming back from offseason surgery he had for a core muscle injury he suffered Week 2 of the season against Seattle, the same game where Roethlisberger was lost. And despite the injury, he still had a strong season.
Johnson finished the year with 59 receptions, leading the Steelers in catches as well as leading all NFL rookies in that category. His 690 receiving yards were second on the Steelers and his five touchdowns led the team. He also had a huge impact in the punt return game and earned a spot on the second-team Associated Press All-Pro team.
More from Ms. Varley here.