During his near two years with the Washington Football Team, Dwayne Haskins flashed his raw talent at times on the field. But, his play was far too inconsistent and not nearly good enough to warrant his actions off of it.
From taking selfies with fans as a rookie to violating coronavirus protocols multiple times last fall, Haskins did little to eliminate maturity concerns that followed him since he was a draft prospect. The quarterback's last straw with Washington came in December after he was caught partying following a loss in December. Head coach Ron Rivera released the 2019 first-rounder one week later.
Now with the Steelers, Haskins was asked on Thursday if he thinks he got a bad rap for his actions in Washington.
"It is what it is. It's all about perception," Haskins said via Zoom. "Of course, some things were taken the way they were taken and not everything was the way it was or the way it was said. It is what it is and I can't go back and change it. I can't go back and tell people what really happened or how it was. It's what's in the past. Now all I can do is prepare to move forward and that's my main focus."
The quarterback, who was cut from his hometown franchise less than 20 months after they invested a first-round pick in him, called his release "humbling" but said he wouldn't get into everything that went down.
Haskins also said he wasn't surprised that he was cut by Washington, saying it is part of the business and that he wasn't brought in by Rivera and his coaching staff.
"I understand that this is a business and I realized as the season was going on that things weren't going the way we both wanted it to," Haskins said. "I'm grateful for the opportunity Washington gave me, but it wasn't completely surprising. But it was also unfortunate to be released the way I was."
In Pittsburgh, Haskins won't be competing for the Steelers starting job. That still belongs to Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, a roster spot for the 24-year-old isn't even a guarantee, as Pittsburgh's two other quarterbacks, Mason Rudolph and Josh Dobbs, have prior experience with the Steelers.
But after going through everything he did in Washington, the former Ohio State star is excited and thankful for Pittsburgh for giving him another shot. He's ready to leave his tenure in Washington -- which he compared to having an ex-girlfriend -- in the past and focus on his future with the Steelers.
"I tried the best that I could and it didn't work out the way that I wanted it to. Just grateful to be here in Pittsburgh and thankful for the opportunity just to have another shot," Haskins said. "My expectation here is to make everyone who decided to take a chance on me look good and just work as hard as I possibly can, let my work speak for itself."
Haskins knows that if it doesn't work out with the Steelers, there might not be another NFL team that comes calling. As for what his goal is with his new club, Haskins has one specific and simple thing that he wants to prove.
"Just coming here to Pittsburgh, I just wanted to prove to the coaching staff and my teammates just how much I love football," Haskins said. "Just grateful for the opportunity to be here and that I'm willing to work to show my talents, work, and earn a spot here."