But Washington is now back at full participation, and it’s a welcomed sight.
The wide receiver focused on adjusting his stance and his jumping ability this spring, and it seems to be paying dividends at training camp.
On Saturday, the Steelers pool report reflected that Washington caught two touchdowns from Ben Roethlisberger in the final team session and made two leaping contested catches.
Washington has basketball and rigorous offseason preparation at his 26-acre farm in Texas to thank for he calls a “night-and-day difference”.
“I would say growing up I was more of a basketball player. I didn’t have the best handles, but I developed them over the years,” Washington told the media on Monday. “I played low post. I was always jumping and getting rebounds. I guess it went hand-in-hand.”
His discipline with stance and start is allowing him to come off the ball and get into routes quicker.
Washington also dropped five pounds before heading back from Texas to Pennsylvania, and it’s made all the difference.
“I feel a lot lighter out there running around,” said Washington. “I feel more explosive coming off the ball. Just being able to jump is night and day different. I feel like an all-around new person. When you shed some weight like that and lean down a little bit more, it’s all paying off.”
Gerry Dulac, who covers the Steelers for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, made a bold statement on Twitter.
We saw it at OKS so it’s no surprise that he can do it here.
— 🔸Steel Legends🔸 (@Steel_Legends) August 24, 2020
“All I can do is go out and try to get better each and every day with the offense. Get on the same page with No. 7 and earn his trust. The rest will take care of itself.”
Washington was the Steelers leading receiver in 2019 and aims to continue that success in the upcoming season.
Pittsburgh has a special group of receivers this year, with more depth and talent than they’ve had in years. All of the timing work and chemistry they’re re-developing with Ben in practice will be a sight to see come game time.