It's been a whirlwind few years for Dwayne Haskins in the NFL. The former first-round pick's time with the Washington Football Team came to an unceremonious end in 2020 when he was cut at the tail end of last season, appearing in just 16 games for the club that made him the No. 15 overall pick in 2019. With that situation now behind him, Haskins is looking to get his career back on a positive trajectory with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who signed him to a reserve/future contract back in January.
"It was for sure humbling," Haskins said Thursday of his release by Washington, via the official Steelers website. "I just wanted to be in a place where I was wanted, and I am wanted here. I am thankful for the opportunity to be somewhere where I feel like I can be myself and play ball and not worry about the other stuff that comes along with it."
Mission No. 1 for Haskins is making the regular-season roster, which is no sure thing with Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs also on the roster behind Ben Roethlisberger. Part of endearing himself to the Pittsburgh brass, he says, is to show "the coaching staff and my teammates how much I love football."
"My mind is in the right place," he said. "I am willing to work to show my talents and be able to earn a spot here. Being able to be here now, I want to work hard and figure things out together."
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While Haskins certainly possesses the talent of a first-round pick, the on-field results haven't been up to snuff thus far. Over his 16 games in Washington stretched over a two-season span, the 24-year-old has completed 60.1% of his passes for 2,804 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 14 picks. He also owns a 3-10 record as a starter. Those figures will need to improve drastically to not only make the Steelers roster but also for Haskins to reach his ultimate goal of being Roethlisberger's successor in Pittsburgh as early as next year.
"My expectation here is to make everyone who took a chance on me look good," said Haskins. "Work as hard as I possibly can and let my work speak for itself. I want to take over after Big Ben, but that comes with due time. They expect a lot out of me as far as being prepared. "I love Pittsburgh. I will do what I can to leave my mark here."
Again, Haskins can set a high bar for himself, but his first goal needs to center around surviving the summer and impressing Mike Tomlin and the rest of Pittsburgh's decision-makers enough to make the 53-man roster.