Overlooked? Former Steelers WR Calls Out Haters

The former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout believes he's one of the best in the NFL.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) reacts after a deep catch in the second quarter of a Week 12 NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, at Paycor Stadium.
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson (18) reacts after a deep catch in the second quarter of a Week 12 NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023, at Paycor Stadium. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY
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PITTSBURGH -- Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson is beginning a new life in the NFL, entering his first season with the Carolina Panthers after being trade in exchange for cornerback Donte Jackson.

While the move didn't come as too big of a surprise, Johnson's departure opened the door for plenty of conversation about his time in Pittsburgh. Some Steelers fans and analysts believe he was reliable. Others look at this struggles with drops from time to time.

Either way, it hasn't always been positive conversation about Johnson. And mostly, the conversation is that he isn't a true WR1.

He's heard the noise. Speaking at Panthers minicamp, Johnson addressed how he feels overlooked in the NFL and believes he's one of the best at what he does.

"I’m a diamond in the rough and I’m just going to continue to keep elevating," Johnson said. "I carry that chip wherever I go ’cause I still get overlooked. I feel like I don’t get the respect I deserve sometimes, so that just makes me go harder. I’m going to keep putting it on film and proving to the league that I’m one of the best separators out there."

Johnson is expected to start in Carolina alongside Adam Theilen and rookie Xavier Leggette. During his time in Pittsburgh, he became their top wideout, replacing JuJu Smith-Schuster and signing a second contract to continue to build off the groundwork he placed in his first three seasons.

With George Pickens's emergence, Johnson's role was reduced this upcoming season, and instead, the team moved on. Now, he's looking to show everyone that he's still one of the top players at the receiver position.

"I told (head coach) Dave [Canales], we need an X to start with. Where if they don’t respect him, he’s winning, they’re wrong," Panthers offensive coordinator Brad Idzik said on Johnson. "For us, that vision is you. We put you over there, they don’t have help on that corner, they f***** up."

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Noah Strackbein

NOAH STRACKBEIN

Noah is the Publisher for All Steelers, Inside the Panthers (InsideThePanthers.com) and Inside the Penguins (InsidethePenguins.com), and is the host of All Steelers Talk (YouTube.com/AllSteelersTalk). A Scranton native, Noah made his way to the Pittsburgh sports scene in 2017. Now, he's pretty much full-yinzer.