James Washington appreciates Ben Roethlisberger’s leadership

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Not only are the Steelers claiming that their new chemistry is better than ever, they’re circling back and saying some of last year’s issues were actually good for them.

After former wideout Antonio Brown has taken his share of shots at quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one of the guys Roethlisberger took shots at last year said he appreciated it.

Via Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Steelers wide receiver James Washington said he had no problem with Roethlisberger throwing him under the bus on his radio show last year, and that their private conversations were more positive.

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“He’s a captain,” Washington said. “That’s what a captain is supposed to do.”

Washington also said “everyone respects” Roethlisberger. “That’s a guy who’s worked hard enough to earn that.”

“It’s hard coaching, but I have been hard coached my entire life, so it really wasn’t nothing new to me,” Washington said. “It helped me get back on track a little bit and back to where I needed to be.”

The Steelers need Washington to step up this season to help make up for the absence of Brown. While JuJu Smith-Schuster has shown signs of being able to shoulder the burden, Washington and Donte Moncrief and rookie Diontae Johnson will have to become more consistent parts of the offense.

And they’ll have to work with Roethlisberger, which they’re showing that they’re willing and eager to do.

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