- The Washington Times
Thursday, June 17, 2021

The end was ugly for Dwayne Haskins in Washington. He partied with his girlfriend and her friends after a game, breaking the league’s coronavirus protocols. He had an absolutely horrid performance against the Carolina Panthers. And then, he was finally cut — putting the young quarterback at a crossroads. 

Haskins, the former 2019 first-rounder, landed in Pittsburgh. And on Thursday, speaking with reporters for the first time since his release, Haskins said he’s ready to put all the drama behind him.

“I just want to prove to the coaching staff and my teammates that I love football,” Haskins said. 

Over the course of Haskins’ two-year tenure in Washington, his work ethic was repeatedly questioned. When the team changed coaching staffs between Haskins’ first and second year, the new regime went over the basics — including teaching Haskins how to take notes. But the coaching didn’t stick: Haskins was benched after four games and violated protocols twice.

Haskins didn’t appear willing to elaborate much on his time with Washington on Thursday — reportedly comparing the team to an ex-girlfriend. He said he was “humbled” by the release and just wants to play in a place he’s wanted. “I’m wanted here,” he said. 

With the Steelers, Haskins is vying for Pittsburgh’s backup job behind starter Ben Roethlisberger. The 24-year-old will compete with Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs. Haskins signed just a one-year, $850,000 contract that contains no guaranteed money — making him easily releasable if coaches are unimpressed. 

So far, Haskins’ new teammates and coaches have praised him. Wide receiver Dioante Johnson said he sees Haskins’ work ethic “every day,” noting the signal caller is trying to glean information from everyone around him. Roethlisberger called Haskins’ throwing mechanics “some of the prettiest” he had ever seen. 

According to Fan Nation’s “All Steelers,” coach Mike Tomlin spent some time talking to Haskins one-on-one after Wednesday’s practice.

Tomlin told reporters he’s trying to help Haskins grow in any way he can.

“I’ve been more concerned about Dwayne the person, kind of getting to know him and getting an understanding of what he‘s been through and how that’s shaped him, affected him positively and negatively, how it’s affected the growth and development of his game,” Tomlin said. “More than anything, Dwayne and I are just trying to get to know one another. I think it starts there, and then we can focus on some things relative to the game itself.”

Of course, Washington echoed similar waves of compliments before Haskins ultimately didn’t live up to the expectations. In 16 career games, Haskins posted a quarterback rating of just 74.4 with 12 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He went 3-10 as a starter.

This past week, Washington coach Ron Rivera reiterated he made a mistake last summer giving all the first-team reps to Haskins during training camp. That’s why Rivera said he plans on holding a true quarterback competition when camp begins between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Taylor Heinicke, the latter of whom replaced Haskins in the Carolina loss.

Haskins, meanwhile, said he just wants his work in Pittsburgh to speak for itself.

“My expectations here are to make everyone who decided to take a chance on me look good,” he said. 

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