Dwayne Haskins Wants to Prove to Steelers That He Loves Football After WFT Release

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 17, 2021

LANDOVER, MARYLAND - DECEMBER 27: Dwayne Haskins #7 of the Washington Football Team throws a pass against the Carolina Panthers during the first quarter at FedExField on December 27, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Will Newton/Getty Images

Dwayne Haskins is trying to do more than earn a place on the Pittsburgh Steelers after flaming out with the Washington Football Team. He's also attempting to show he still loves the game.

"I just wanted to prove to the coaching staff and my teammates how much I love football," he told reporters Thursday. "I'm grateful for the opportunity to be here and showing them that my mind is in the right place and I'm willing to work to be able to show my talents and be able to work and earn a spot here."

Haskins was Washington's No. 15 pick in the 2019 NFL draft and started 13 games in his first two seasons (16 appearances), though he didn't make the most of the opportunity, throwing for 2,804 yards, 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while completing just 60.1 percent of his throws.

Washington went 3-10 in his starts.

He was also fined and stripped of his captaincy last year after violating COVID-19 protocols, had his work ethic and commitment questioned by head coach Ron Rivera, was benched on two separate occasions and was released in December.

Now, he's trying to rebuild his career in Pittsburgh.

"I just wanted to be at a place where I felt like I was wanted and I feel like I'm wanted here," he said. "I'm thankful for the opportunity to be somewhere where I just feel I can be myself and play ball and not have to worry about all the other stuff that comes along with it."

There's no guarantee he'll make the team, with Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs also fighting for backup positions behind starter Ben Roethlisberger. But there's also no doubt that he has natural talent and potential, especially considering his 50-touchdown 2018 season at Ohio State.

"I was just telling [quarterbacks] Coach Sully [Mike Sullivan] the other day that his release and throwing motion mechanics are some of the prettiest I have ever seen," Roethlisberger told reporters during OTAs. "I told him I wish I had that. I joked that he could throw it through a car wash, and it wouldn't get wet."

Whether he can throw it through coverage without it getting intercepted remains to be seen.