New Steelers WR Donte Moncrief not trying to replace Antonio Brown |

New Steelers WR Donte Moncrief not trying to replace Antonio Brown

Joe Rutter
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Donte Moncrief (10) runs after catching a pass in front of New York Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson (22) for a 67-yard touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jaguars won 31-12.

With the ink still drying on the Antonio Brown trade, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed veteran wide receiver Donte Moncrief to a two-year contract.

That brings impossible expectations for a receiver who, at least on paper, is filling the roster spot of a seven-time Pro Bowl player.

Moncrief made it clear Thursday he did not join the Steelers to replace Brown.

“Donte is going to be Donte,” Moncrief said at an introductory press conference. “AB, like anybody knows, is one of the best — or is the best — to ever play this game. You can’t try to be what he was. You can only try to be what you are.

“I’m going to come in and play the role that I can play, make the plays that I can make and do whatever it takes to make this team better.”

In five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars, Moncrief caught 200 passes. He never was considered the primary target at either destination.

Moncrief also never had one quarterback consistently throwing him passes despite playing with Andrew Luck in Indianapolis. He played with the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Scott Tolzien and Matt Hasselbeck in Indianapolis because of injuries to Luck, and Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler were Moncrief’s QBs last season in Jacksonville.

Moncrief said he welcomes the chance to catch passes from Ben Roethlisberger. Moncrief was taking his physical Thursday when Roethlisberger called, and the franchise quarterback followed up with a text.

“It was exciting to get a message from Ben Roethlisberger,” Moncrief said.

What did Roethlisberger tell him?

“How he’s ready to get going, make some plays, get some throws in,” Moncrief said. “He wants to meet up in the offseason and get some chemistry going so it can roll into the season.”

At 25 years old, Moncrief is in the unexpected role of being the veteran in the Steelers wide receiver room. His five NFL seasons is as many as JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Ryan Switzer have combined. Only Eli Rogers, 26, is older, but Moncrief has the edge in experience.

“It’s kind of weird,” Moncrief said. “Just thinking about that, I have to be the ‘mentor’ guy, push guys and make sure guys do things right. Like coach said already, it’s a great room. JuJu Smith-Schuster is doing things a lot of young guys can’t do.

“We have a lot of other guys that are hardworking, young guys that are going to keep me young and push me and motivate me and make me go fast every play.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.