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Washington: 'I have already picked up things'

James Washington walked off the field after the Steelers third day of OTAs, and when he was asked to talk, he did what a rookie should do. He made sure he had a few minutes, checking with special teams coordinator Danny Smith, who needed to catch up with him.

When given the green light from Smith, he breathed for a minute, and then gave his take on how things are progressing.

“It’s been pretty good. I am getting better each day,” said Washington. “I had a few mental errors, but that’s a rookie for you. I am just watching the veterans and learning, getting mental reps.

“It’s a lot faster from what I am used to. Just being out here with these guys, I am getting better every day.”

Getting better on a daily basis is easy when you have Antonio Brown there to learn from. All it takes is watching the all-everything receiver for the rookie second-round draft pick to know what he is supposed to do on the field, and off.  

“He hasn’t worked with me one-on-one, but just watching him I have already picked up a few things,” said Washington. “His character on the field. The way he runs his routes, he is so crisp and elite with every move he makes.

“Every time we are on the field I try to match his work ethic. We have a GPS and I want mine right up there with his every day.”

Washington said he hasn’t bombarded Brown with a lot of questions yet, rather trying to pick things up by observing what is going on.

“I don’t really ask many questions,” said Washington. “I try to learn that way I don’t have to be told over and over.”

And with that, he was off to do what rookies do.

Conner strong: Two years after he was deemed cancer free James Conner is out on the field during the team’s OTAs making the most of every minute, especially with Le’Veon Bell not taking part in OTAs while he is looking for a long-term contract.

“This is an opportunity to learn, get on field reps and grow as a player,” said Conner. “I haven’t proven anything yet. It’s another opportunity for me to show the coaches and earn respect from my teammates that I am capable of playing on Sundays.”

Handling it like pros: The NFL’s new National Anthem policy has created a lot of conversation since it was released on Wednesday, but Ramon Foster, the Steelers rep for the NFLPA, said he isn’t concerned how it will be handled by his teammates.

“I feel like us, personally, we will handle it like pros,” said Foster. “It will not be a situation for us. It will be work as usual for us. Other teams we will see what happens. I am sure when the summer breaks everybody will voice their opinion and I am sure it will be a highlight opening day. Our thing is just to minimize the issue. We are there to play a game.”

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