On Friday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Pittsburgh Steelers wideout James Washington requested a trade "based on his limited playtime last season and so far this preseason."
But on Saturday, head coach Mike Tomlin disputed the report.
"He has not," Tomlin told reporters after being asked if Washington requested a trade or expressed unhappiness in Pittsburgh. "Those unnamed sources, we don't react to or respond to. James has been great here, working and having a good camp."
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada echoed that sentiment.
"James Washington's awesome. He comes to work every day; he's a good guy to be around. Hasn't said a word to me," he said. "Just plays hard every day and practices hard every day. I'm a huge fan of James. I really am."
That may all be true, but it doesn't change the fact that the Steelers have JuJu Smith-Schuster (97 catches for 831 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020), Diontae Johnson (88 catches for 923 yards and seven scores) and Chase Claypool (62 receptions for 873 yards and nine touchdowns) atop the depth chart.
All three were more productive than Washington (30 catches for 392 yards and five touchdowns) last year, by a fairly wide margin. Barring injuries, there's little reason to believe that would change this season.
Washington has talent. He caught 44 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns in 2019, an excellent effort in his sophomore season. But Johnson's continued growth and Claypool's fantastic rookie year have seen him pushed down the depth chart. If he wants a bigger role, it will have to come outside Pittsburgh.
Add in the fact that he's in a contract year, and it would be hard to blame him if he's considering a change of scenery.
Canada said Saturday that Washington would have a "good role" in the offense this upcoming season.
"Certain games, there are different matchups," Canada said. "Certain things happen, but James is a big part of what we do. He'll continue to have a role."
Whether that role is enough to satisfy Washington is unclear, however.