All three Pittsburgh Steelers quarterbacks threw at least one touchdown pass in Saturday’s preseason opener, but rookie Kenny Pickett had the most impressive performance. 

Pickett threw for a pair of touchdowns, including a 24-yarder to Tyler Vaughns with three seconds remaining to lift the Steelers to a 32-25 victory over the visiting Seattle Seahawks. 

Pickett, the 20th overall selection in this year’s draft out of Pittsburgh, is competing with Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph to replace retired two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback. He certainly did nothing to hurt his chances on Saturday. 

He played the entire second half and led a seven-play, 75-yard drive on his opening possession, completing all five of his passes, culminating in a three-yard TD pass to Jaylen Warren.  

His winning throw in the waning seconds capped a five-play, 43-yard drive. Pickett finished 13-of-15 for 95 yards with two scores, and completed 10 consecutive passes at one point.  

Trubisky, who spent last season as Josh Allen’s backup in Buffalo, led the Steelers to a TD on the opening possession with a 90-yard drive. He was four-of-seven for 63 yards, connecting with Gunner Olszewski on a 13-yard scoring strike. 

Rudolph, Roethlisberger’s backup the past four seasons, led touchdown and field goal drives on the first two of his three possessions. His 26-yard TD pass to exciting rookie George Pickens gave the Steelers a 14-0 lead. Rudolph was nine-of-15 for 93 yards.  

Diontae Johnson arrived at the Pittsburgh Steelers training camp on time but had been sitting out practices while seeking a new contract. 

He will now be reporting to practice after signing an extension with the Steelers with a new three-year contract on Thursday. 

The 26-year-old Johnson was entering the final season of his rookie deal, and in his new contract he’ll be paid $36.71million over the next two years, according to NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo. 

"I felt it in my gut it was the right move for me and my family," Johnson said. "I am just glad to get back to work. I love being a Steeler. I love it here. Just being around my teammates, the atmosphere, the energy they show every day. I feel like I made the right choice to continue to be here for a long time." 

The extension includes $27million guaranteed, and Johnson will be able to hit free agency in 2025, giving him an opportunity to sign another big deal when he’s still in his prime if he’s able to replicate the success he enjoyed last season. 

Johnson had a career year in 2021, tying for fifth in the NFL in receptions (107, along with Mark Andrews) and ranking 10th in receiving yards (1,161) while hauling in eight touchdown receptions to earn a Pro Bowl selection. 

Selected in the third round of the 2019 NFL draft, Johnson has 254 career receptions – the most for anyone drafted in 2019 – for 2,767 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

Finalising a new deal early in camp was important for the Steelers as it will give Johnson time to work on his chemistry with the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job in Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett following the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger. 

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger acknowledged that he should have done a better job of articulating his comments after offending his old team-mate Cam Heyward.

Last week in an article published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Roethlisberger said one of the reasons the Steelers faltered in the playoffs in the last few seasons was because young players today are more focused on personal goals rather than team goals.

"I feel like the game has changed," he said. "I feel like the people have changed in a sense. Maybe it's because I got spoiled when I came in. The team was so important. It was all about the team.

"Now, it's about me and this, that and the other. I might be standing on a soapbox a little bit, but that's my biggest takeaway from when I started to the end. It turned from a team-first to a me-type attitude. It was hard."

Those comments did not sit well with Heyward, a team-mate of Roethlisberger from 2011 until the future Hall of Fame quarterback retired following the 2021 season.

"We have a lot of young players that come from different backgrounds, have experienced different things from what others or I may have experienced," Heyward said on his own Not Just Football podcast on Wednesday. "That doesn't make them selfish or more of a me-type attitude. There are a lot more team-first guys than me-type attitude. I took offense to that."

On Thursday, Roethlisberger walked back on his comments.

"I probably should've been more detailed, more specific," Roethlisberger told 102.5 DVE in Pittsburgh. "It's not the majority of guys are that way."

The 40-year-old Roethlisberger played for the Steelers for his entire 18-year career in the NFL, leading the franchise to a pair of Super Bowl championships, eight AFC North Division titles and 12 playoff berths.

However, much of that success came in the first half of Roethlisberger's career, as Pittsburgh have not won a playoff game since the 2016 season, losing its last three postseason appearances.

"I get Cam supporting his team-mates," Roethlisberger said. "I wasn't trying to bash anyone specifically, I was just making a broad stroke comment. I agree with him and I should've been more clear. The majority of guys on that team are team-first guys."

The Steelers opened camp on Wednesday ushering in a new era with Mitch Trubisky, Mason Rudolph and rookie Kenny Pickett competing to replace the retired Roethlisberger.

After leading the NFL in touches during a strong rookie season, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris is ready for another heavy workload – even a historic one - if it leads to another trip to the playoffs.

"I can get 500," Harris said in an interview on The Rich Eisen Show. "If I get 500 carries, as long as we're winning, it doesn't really matter."

Harris accumulated 381 touches during the 2021 regular season, the most by a rookie since Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson's 398 in 2001. The Pro Bowler said he's prepared to increase that total if again called upon to be the focal point of an offense that will be breaking in a new starting quarterback following the offseason retirement of franchise icon Ben Roethlisberger.

"The more carries you get, the better you are," Harris said. "You get more of a feel for the game, you get an understanding of how the defense is playing. Obviously, you wear them down."

Harris' quick transition to the NFL game indeed played a big part in the Steelers reaching the postseason for the sixth time in eight years. Pittsburgh went 6-0-1 when the former Alabama star had 20 or more rushing attempts in a game and was 3-7 when he was under that mark.

The 2021 first-round pick accounted for 29.8 per cent of the Steelers' yards from scrimmage. Only Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (35.4 per cent) and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp (29.9 per cent) had a higher share of their team's scrimmage yards last season.

Harris takes great pride in being able to contribute on all three downs in an era where skill players are becoming more specialised, and disputed any notion his heavy usage made him less effective.

"I didn't have an issue with it, it was the media that had an issue with it," he told Eisen. "I told them every game, I was like, 'Man, if this is the way to winning, I can carry the load'. I train to carry loads. It's not something I hadn't done before. I did it in college, high school."

A further increase in responsibility would put Harris in some very select company, as only five players in NFL history have recorded 450 or more touches in a season. Tampa Bay's James Wilder holds the league record of 492, set for the Buccaneers in 1984, while the last to eclipse that threshold was Larry Johnson for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2006.

"This is our identity right here," Harris said of the Steelers' run-based approach. "So, let's keep this going on."

Here today, gone tomorrow – or is it tomato?

It's the end of an era in Pittsburgh, as the Steelers announced on Monday their longtime stadium will no longer be called Heinz Field. 

The Steelers will now play in Acrisure Stadium after reaching a 15-year sponsorship deal with the financial tech company. Financial terms were not released. 

"We are excited to partner with Acrisure for the naming rights to our stadium," Steelers President Art Rooney II said. "Acrisure provided us with an opportunity to ensure our stadium continues to be a valuable asset for our fans as well as keeping up with the market value of NFL stadiums."

The name change will take place immediately at the 68,400-seat venue, which had been known as Heinz Field since it opened in 2001. 

In their 21 seasons since its opening, the Steelers have won two Super Bowls, 10 division titles and made the playoffs 14 times. In this span, only the New England Patriots (80.5) and Green Bay Packers (73.8) have achieved a higher home winning percentage than Pittsburgh's 72.8 (122-45-2). 

Defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi will continue his tour of the AFC North by signing a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  

Ogunjobi spent his first four seasons with the Cleveland Browns before recording a career-high seven sacks, a team-high 12 tackles for loss and 49 total tackles last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.  

This is the second time this offseason that Ogunjobi has agreed to a free-agent contract, signing a reported three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears in March before that deal fell through when he failed his physical.  

Ogunjobi started 16 games last season for the Bengals but suffered a season-ending right foot injury during a Wild Card round victory over the Las Vegas Raiders. 

Ogunjobi will replace the retired Stephon Tuitt as the third starter on the Steelers' defensive line, along with Cameron Heyward and Tyson Alualu.

He should help Pittsburgh improve a run defense that finished 32nd in the NFL last season in rushing yards allowed and 32nd in rushing yards per attempt. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick says he feels "no pressure" of becoming the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

The Pittsburgh Steelers on Wednesday announced that the 25-year-old has agreed to a four-year contract worth in excess of $73.6million, with $36m guaranteed.

Fitzpatrick is confident he is worth his huge salary and will repay the Steelers with his performances.

He said: "I think I'm one of the best at what I do. So obviously, you would like to be paid in that way and represented in that way.

"In a week from now or a year from now, somebody's obviously gonna pass it up, but you always want to raise the bar for the guys behind you, want to raise the bar for the people in our locker room.

"I think Mr. Rooney and [general manager] Omar [Khan], they see the work that I put in, and obviously my play on the field reflects that. They're willing to make me that, and I'm appreciative."

He added: "Because I've done it, there's no pressure. That's the standard that I hold myself to day in and day out."

Fitzpatrick felt it was important to get his future resolved before training camp starts next month.

He said: "It was important. I wanted to be out there with my team-mates, practicing and competing.

"The thing I appreciate the most about this organisation is its commitment to winning. The season I came here, they lost their Hall of Fame QB. They could've tanked. But they went out, got me, and added some other guys. It was a season about winning."

A first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Steelers a year later, having expressed dissatisfaction with his role on the Dolphins' defense.

He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2019 and again two years ago and has 11 interceptions since the start of the 2019 campaign.

Only three safeties, Justin Simmons (14), Quandre Diggs (13) and Tyrann Mathieu (13) have registered more interceptions in that time.

He has also racked up 27 pass breakups, tied for seventh-most in the NFL, during that period.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed on a four-year contract extension with Minkah Fitzpatrick to make him the highest-paid safety in NFL history.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the deal, which was confirmed by Fitzpatrick's representatives, will pay him over $18.4million annually.

Fitzpatrick will receive $36million in guaranteed money at signing.

A first-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2018, Fitzpatrick was traded to the Steelers a year later, having expressed dissatisfaction with his role on the Dolphins' defense.

Since then, he has established himself as one of the premier safeties in the NFL.

Fitzpatrick was named a first-team All-Pro in 2019 and 2020 and has 11 interceptions since the start of the 2019 campaign.

Only three safeties, Justin Simmons (14), Quandre Diggs (13) and Tyrann Mathieu (13) have registered more interceptions in that time.

He has also racked up 27 pass breakups, tied for seventh-most in the NFL, during that span.

The Pittsburgh Steelers may have found their long-term answer at quarterback in this year's draft, but the future may not be now just yet for rookie Kenny Pickett.

Mitch Trubisky has taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense during the Steelers' offseason training activities and the mandatory mini-camp that began Tuesday, and the five-year veteran told reporters he is operating with the mindset he will be the starting quarterback when Pittsburgh open the season at the defending AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals on September 11. 

"I'm preparing to be the starter," Trubisky said. "I feel like no matter what position you're in, you should prepare [that way].

"I wouldn't read too much into [the first-team snaps], but I'm getting a lot of good reps and I'm feeling really comfortable in the offense.

"I like where we're at right now and I feel very confident."

With 50 career starts under his belt, Trubisky is the most experienced of the three quarterbacks vying to be the successor to the now retired Ben Roethlisberger, a group that includes Pickett – the former University of Pittsburgh standout taken with the 20th overall pick – and holdover Mason Rudolph.

And with the Steelers having no immediate plans to rebuild following a second consecutive playoff appearance in 2021, the 27-year-old seems to have the inside track at opening the post-Roethlisberger era under center.

The opportunity to start again played a large role in Trubisky's decision to join the Steelers on a two-year, $14million contract in March.

He went 29-21 over four seasons with the Chicago Bears from 2017 to 2020 and helped the team to two playoff appearances during that period, but he did not have his fifth-year option picked up and spent last season as a backup to Josh Allen with the Buffalo Bills.

Trubisky said the transition to a new offense and new team-mates has so far gone smoothly.

"I thought we've gotten better every day," he said. "I feel like I'm throwing the ball really well. We've put a lot in and I think the guys have handled it well. We're executing at a pretty high level right now."

While Trubisky saw Pittsburgh as a spot to potentially reestablish himself as a viable NFL starter, the Steelers are hoping the 2017 number two overall pick's arm strength is a good fit for an offense that often struggled generating big passing plays with the ageing Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh's 6.05 yards per pass attempt in 2021 ranked 30th in the league, trailing only the also-ran Carolina Panthers and the New York Giants.

"He's been one of the quarterbacks to release it, for sure," rookie wide receiver George Pickens said. "Yeah, he's been launching it."

The Pittsburgh Steelers have hired Omar Khan as their new general manager.

Khan, who was most recently Pittsburgh's vice president of football and business administration, has worked for the Steelers for 21 years.

He replaces long-time GM Kevin Colbert, who in January announced his decision to step down after the 2022 NFL Draft.

"I am extremely excited for this opportunity to be the general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers," said Khan.

"I would like to thank Art Rooney II, Mike Tomlin, and Kevin Colbert for their support throughout this process.

"I am ready for this challenge and grateful to continue the success we have had on the field during my first 21 years.

"I look forward to completing our football operations staff and working tirelessly to build another championship football team for Steelers Nation and our community."

 

Kenny Pickett will get to stay in Pittsburgh, after being selected by the Steelers with the 20th overall pick.

No quarterbacks came off the board in the first 19 picks as defensive players and wide receivers dominated the headlines.

And, given the freedom to choose from what most considered to be an uninspiring litter at quarterback, the Steelers went with a player who already called Heinz Field home.

Pickett excelled in his final year playing for the University of Pittsburgh, leading the Panthers to an 11-3 record and an ACC title.

He completed 67.2 per cent of his passes for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.

Arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in the class, Pickett delivered an accurate well-thrown ball on 82.70 percent of his passes last season, the highest ratio of anyone in the draft, according to Stats Perform data. His pickable pass rate of 2.11 percent was also best in class.

Pickett excels at throwing with timing and anticipation, frequently hitting his receivers in stride to maximise their potential to create yards after the catch.

He can make throws with pressure in his face and moves well in the pocket to escape pressure while also succeeding at breaking structure and creating with his legs.

A lack of elite arm strength to make deep throws outside the numbers is the concern with Pickett, but the Steelers were clearly not overly worried about that deficiency, catapulting him into a likely quarterback competition with Mitchell Trubisky in the first year of the post-Ben Roethlisberger era.

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins has died at the age of 24 after being struck by a car on Saturday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the 2019 first-round pick was hit by a vehicle in South Florida, where he had been training with other Steelers quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin read: "I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins.

"He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great team-mate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kalabrya, and his entire family during this difficult time."

Haskins signed with the Steelers in 2021 after being released by the Washington Commanders late in the 2020 season.

Washington selected Haskins with the 15th pick of the 2019 draft after his stellar 2018 season with Ohio State, throwing 50 touchdowns to eight interceptions in that campaign.

Commanders head coach Ron Rivera said in a statement: "I am absolutely heartbroken to hear of the news of the passing of Dwayne Haskins Jr. Dwayne was a talented young man who had a long life ahead of him.

"This is a very sad time and I am honestly at a loss for words. I know I speak for the rest of our team in saying he will be sorely missed. Our entire team is sending our heartfelt condolences and thoughts and prayers to the Haskins family at this time."

Washington co-owners Dan and Tara Snyder added: "We are devastated to hear the news of the tragic passing of Dwayne Haskins Jr. He was a young man with a tremendous amount of potential who had an infectious personality.

"To say we are heartbroken is an understatement. Our hearts and prayers are with the members of the Dwayne's family and all of those who knew him and loved him."

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin feels lucky to add an asset as valuable as new senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach Brian Flores.

Flores was fired from his role as head coach of the Miami Dolphins in January following the franchise's first back-to-back winning seasons since 2003, finishing 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 in 2021.

During the fallout of his stint in Miami, Flores filed a lawsuit against the NFL, the Dolphins, Denver Broncos and New York Giants.

In it, he accused the Broncos and Giants of flawed hiring processes, alleging the two franchises only offered interviews to comply with the league's 'Rooney Rule', which requires teams to interview candidates of colour for head coaching and senior operation vacancies.

The class action brought by Flores alleged the NFL "remains rife with racism, particularly when it comes to the hiring and retention of black head coaches, coordinators and general managers".

Flores also alleged he was offered $100,000 per loss by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross in 2019 in an effort to secure a better draft position.

All parties have strenuously denied Flores' allegations.

Flores was confirmed as the Steelers' new defensive assistant and linebackers coach last month, and Tomlin acknowledged that his decision to offer him a role was partly influenced by a desire to ensure he was not exiled from the league.

"I just didn't want him to feel like he was on an island," he told reporters on Sunday. 

"From a coaching fraternity standpoint, I owed him that. I was in position to provide that. I think that started our interactions and conversations.

"Over the course of those discussions, particularly when it became evident he was not going to get a head job, then I think the natural discussion began. 

"It really ran its course rather quickly, to be quite honest with you, because it doesn't require a lot of time to come to the realisation that you can use a Brian Flores on your staff."

Tomlin believes Flores will bring a level of experience that will help shape decision-making on every level.

"Senior defensive assistant and linebacker coach is his title, but there's help that he's going to help us and help me, in particular," he added. 

"I love sharpening my sword on his and gaining a perspective that his experiences provide, that wise counsel.

"We're talking about a myriad of things. Whether it's calendar, whether it's taking care of players, whether it's the acquisition or evaluation of talent, it's been fun to have him. His contributions are going to be significant."

JuJu Smith-Schuster has confirmed the prospect of playing with Patrick Mahomes was a key factor in his decision to join the Kansas City Chiefs.

The one-time Pro Bowler had spent his entire NFL career to date with the Pittsburgh Steelers but announced his departure on Friday.

On social media, Mahomes soon welcomed the arrival in Kansas City of a wide receiver with 323 catches for 3,855 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns across 63 games in five seasons.

After Smith-Schuster secured a one-year, $10.75million deal, Mahomes sent him a Twitter message, which read: "Turn me up brotha!!!"

His new Chiefs team-mate replied: "Can't wait to get after it my boy!"

But that was not their first conversation around the move, as Smith-Schuster revealed when facing the media as a Chief for the first time.

"I had talked to a couple of guys, obviously, to make this happen. I talked to Pat a couple of times. I'd talked to Pat multiple times before even all this. I've known Pat for a while now, so, yeah, of course.

"You go into free agency, and you find out who's going to be throwing you the ball next year. It came down to Pat, and I'm excited. I'm happy with my decision."

Taken in the second round in the 2017 NFL Draft, Smith-Schuster was an instant hit with seven receiving TDs in each of his first two seasons, including a pair of 97-yard scores – becoming the first player in NFL history to have multiple offensive TDs of that distance or more.

There were 1,426 receiving yards in 2018, before a step back in 2019 was followed by a career-high nine receiving TDs in 2020.

Limited to five games by a shoulder injury while the Steelers toiled on offense with the retiring Ben Roethlisberger still at quarterback, Smith-Schuster's only score last season was his first career rushing TD.

The 25-year-old is confident the Chiefs are a good fit for him, though.

 "I just thought that this opportunity fit more for me in the sense of coming here, playing for Andy [Reid] and obviously the OC [Eric Bieniemy], Joe [Bleymaier] and everyone else," he said.

"I've seen an opportunity that I can take on and where I can improve my skills and see what I can do.

"I'm a physical guy coming in here to showcase those talents. That's what I bring with myself, in the package.

"I'm here to work. We have a great team, there are some great guys, and this is why I came to be a part of this. I came here to win."

Patrick Mahomes welcomed the arrival of a new Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver to target after JuJu Smith-Schuster secured a one-year, $10.75million deal.

Smith-Schuster announced his departure from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday.

The one-time Pro Bowler had spent his entire NFL career to date with the Steelers, with 323 catches for 3,855 receiving yards and 26 receiving touchdowns across 63 games in five seasons.

Taken in the second round in the 2017 NFL Draft, Smith-Schuster was an instant hit with seven receiving TDs in each of his first two seasons, including a pair of 97-yard scores – becoming the first player in NFL history to have multiple offensive TDs of that distance or more.

There were 1,426 receiving yards in 2018, before a step back in 2019 was followed by a career-high nine receiving TDs in 2020.

Limited to five games by a shoulder injury while the Steelers toiled on offense with the retiring Ben Roethlisberger still at quarterback, Smith-Schuster's only score last season was his first career rushing TD.

Paired with Mahomes, though, the 25-year-old can feel confident he will get his career back on track in Kansas City.

Wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce will remain Mahomes' primary weapons, targeted on 28 per cent and 25 per cent of their routes respectively last season, but there is room for another option after Sammy Watkins left following the 2020 campaign. Byron Pringle departed this offseason in free agency and Mecole Hardman has yet to live up to his second-round draft status.

Superstar Mahomes certainly appears eager to link up with Smith-Schuster, quickly welcoming his signing on social media after the new man posted: "#ChiefsKingdom Let's Go!"

"Turn me up brotha!!!" Mahomes replied, to which Smith-Schuster said: "Can't wait to get after it my boy!"

Smith-Schuster had earlier posted a message thanking the Steelers fans, saying: "To all of Steelers Nation. Thank you for taking me in and making me a part of the family from the moment that I was drafted. You all took me in so quickly, and I really needed it.

"I was a wide-eyed 20-year-old who was sent to the east coast away from my family for the first time in my life, and you made me feel right at home, despite all of the loneliness I should have felt.

"These have been the best five years in my life. I owe so much to the fans who embraced me and who made playing on Sundays in Pittsburgh so special.

"It was an honour to wear the black and gold for you all! I love you! JuJu."

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