Fighting through adversity

Upon further review, James Washington regretted not having done it differently.

"Just run through it," the rookie wide receiver acknowledged.

Had Washington done that on second-and-8 from the Steelers' 41-yard line late in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon in Denver, he could have, probably would have scored and broken a 17-17 tie.

As it was, Washington attempted a diving catch on a deep ball from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger down the right sideline that didn't survive Washington's eventual impact with the turf.

"If you're referring to that 'go' ball, which a lot of us are, he didn't run through it and that's something he does all the time, something he's done for many years," rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph, Washington's teammate at Oklahoma State, agreed.

Rudolph likewise confirmed Washington's mindset remains what it needs to be despite a rookie season that has seen him catch eight passes for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Washington's performances in OTAs, in training camp and especially in the preseason suggested much more might be forthcoming sooner rather than later, even as a rookie.

That it hasn't yet has been disappointing but not deflating.

"He's holding up great," Rudolph maintained. "He's staying mentally in it.

"That's how he was raised. There's going to be a lot of adversity."

Head coach Mike Tomlin expressed confidence in Washington on Tuesday, but suggested the assembled media find out from Washington firsthand if Washington still had confidence in himself.

Washington admitted to being upset with himself for the play he didn't make in Denver, but added "every receiver is when they drop a pass. You just have to overcome adversity. It's nothing about confidence. Just gotta go out there and overcome adversity and just execute, just gotta bounce back.

"My brothers around here, the other receivers, when one gets down we're all down, so they're just always in my head trying to give me encouragement and trying to get me back up," he continued after practice today. "When I got drafted I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Like any rookie you have to go through adversity, whether it's high school or college or now. That's what I'm going through right now.

"We're all made differently. None of us are the same. Sometimes it takes longer for others and sometimes it's quicker for others. At some point in time in our life we'll all grow up and overcome that stage."

That's a message that's been continually sent to Washington through Rudolph.

"People around the building, I keep hearing, 'Hey, listen, tell him Emmanuel Sanders, even Antonio (Brown), Martavis Bryant, they all took about 10 weeks to kind of get going, almost a season to kind of get going, to understand and get comfortable,'" Rudolph said. "He's a great player and he's going to come along.

"The more work he gets with (quarterback) Ben (Roethlisberger) in the offseason, as well as these next six weeks into the playoffs, he's going to keep learning his craft and he's going to produce."

The 'go' ball in Denver was a chance to produce that eluded Washington, but it wasn't because he lacked confidence.

"I just kinda felt like I misjudged it," he said.

The Steelers prepare for the week 13 matchup against the LA Chargers.

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