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Diontae Johnson Inspired Minkah Fitzpatrick to Improve This Season

Watching his offensive teammate has fueled Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

PITTSBURGH -- Diontae Johnson's second drop of the season came on a would've-been touchdown pass against the Baltimore Ravens. To make up for it, he caught two touchdowns and 105 receiving yards, which is becoming a norm for the Pittsburgh Steelers wideout. 

That ability to make plays hasn't come easy, though. Johnson led the NFL in drops last season, which forced him to add extra work to his routine. So far, that's paid off, as he continues to be a star for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense. 

His extra work has inspired another playmaker in Pittsburgh. Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick told reporters that watching Johnson work after practice gave him the motivation to begin doing the same. 

"He's always catching probably 100 extra passes, he's catching tennis balls," Fitzpatrick explained. "I started doing the same thing. I was struggling catching earlier this year, and I feel like it's helped me tremendously. He's definitely challenged me to take that extra step for sure."

That extra work has paid off for both players. Johnson leads the Steelers in receptions (76), receiving yards (914) and receiving touchdowns (6) after a disappointing season last year. Fitzpatrick has recorded interceptions in back-to-back weeks after failing to pick off a quarterback in the first half of the season. 

"It's impressive," Fitzpatrick said. "... He's really grown and matured. You got see that last night when he came back and put up over 100 receiving yards against a great secondary, tough guys to play against. It's a testament to his mental maturity."

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