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Cam Heyward: Diontae Johnson holding in won’t harm the team in any way

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Mike Florio and Chris Simms break down Diontae Johnson's contract negotiations and his awkward position at Steelers training camp.

Wide receiver Diontae Johnson has been with the Steelers at training camp this week, but he hasn’t been a full participant in practice as he tries to land a contract extension ahead of his fourth season in Pittsburgh.

Johnson isn’t the first Steeler to take this approach as T.J. Watt did the same thing last season and there are others around the league doing the same thing this summer, which is likely why head coach Mike Tomlin downplayed the impact of Johnson’s decision on the rest of the team. Defensive lineman Cam Heyward expressed a similar view on Thursday.

“We’re here to do a job,” Heyward said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Mike T always says one man’s misfortune is another man’s fortune. This gives a chance for other guys to step up — guys like George Pickens, Calvin Austin, Chase Claypool. They shouldn’t run from it. Diontae will be ready by Week 1. But I don’t think he’s going to harm the team in any way.”

Heyward may not see any potential harm to the team, but giving rookies like Pickens and Austin extra opportunities could wind up harming Johnson’s bid for a contract if they prove to be quick learners. The Steelers have seen a number of wideouts leave the team over the years and they’ve been able to replace them with other productive players, so good starts for the younger wideouts could affect their plans for the older one.