10 Questions with Markus Wheaton

You worked hard this offseason and earned your starting spot at receiver. How good did it feel to have that hard work pay off?It felt real good. I put in a lot of work to earn the spot. We had a lot of good guys competing for the spot. That is why it feels even better. We actually let a few really good guys go because there were so many guys competing. It felt good. I put in a lot of work, a lot of hours, a lot of sweat and it felt good.

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Take a look at the Top 10 photos of wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

How much did the competition help you?** A ton. I think competition always makes you better. With the guys that we had we all pushed each other and helped each other. It helped me a lot.Did you feel like you had something to prove?Definitely. I still have a long way to go. I still have a lot to prove to myself mostly. I need to still continue to take steps, continue to get better and grow.Do you feel like you have now earned Ben Roethlisberger's trust?I have a lot more than I have had, I can say that. Whether I am where I want to be with his trust I am not sure. I think I still have a ways to go with him, my coaches and teammates. But I think I have come a long way.

What is it like having a quarterback like Ben throwing you the ball?It's fun. Him doing all of the things he has done in the past, it's exciting for me to play with a guy like that. It's exciting for me to gain his trust with all of the receivers he has seen come through, all of the good guys he has had playing receiver. For me to gain his trust is huge for me. It builds my confidence, encourages me. 

You spent time this offseason working out with Ben and some other receivers in California. What did you gain from that?It was really personal time with Ben. I think that was the biggest part of it. I think that helps in gaining his trust, getting to know each other. We did some field work which is always good, but being with him, being with some other receivers that know the stuff, just going over plays and getting on the right track got me going in the right direction.

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What did you learn last year, especially when you weren't playing and watching?I learned a ton...how to study, how to practice, how to prepare, how to prepare for practice, how to take care of my body, everything that goes into playing the game of football.You already have more receptions through two games than you did all of last year. Does it feel good to contribute?It's huge. That is what I was lacking last year. Finishing last year without a lot of catches I wasn't able to contribute like I would have liked to. I did a lot of stuff on special teams, but I didn't contribute as much as I wanted to. It feels good to see the hard work I put in this offseason pay off. In what ways has Antonio Brown helped with your development since last season?Where he helps me is being able to watch him, whether it's how he practices, what he does after practice, how he works in the weight room. The guy works hard. He is probably the hardest worker I have ever seen. I try to emulate that. *You seem to be taking an approach he always has had, being one of the last guys off the field. You are usually that last guy now. Why?I enjoy it. I enjoy being able to help the team, showing up when it's a big play like in the first game being able to help the team win the game. If you are going to be out there, why not be good at it. I would rather put in the extra time now and have it show on Sunday.* **

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