Donte Moncrief trying to ‘have fun,’ work way back into Steelers lineup
Donte Moncrief admits to pressing too much to impress his new team, and it landed him a spot on the inactive list for the third game of the Pittsburgh Steelers season.
The sixth-year veteran wide receiver is waiting for a chance to get back on that field. He just doesn’t know when that will happen.
Moncrief has watched rookie Diontae Johnson and second-year receiver James Washington get work with the first team in practice. It was the same last Sunday in San Francisco when Moncrief stood on the sideline and watched Johnson and Washington start alongside No. 1 receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster at San Francisco.
On the official depth chart released by coach Mike Tomlin, Moncrief is listed as the third option, trailing Washington and Johnny Holton.
Moncrief said Steelers coaches haven’t given him any clarity on when he might return to the lineup.
“Just be yourself and go out there and play,” Moncrief said when asked what coaches have told him. “Stop putting pressure on yourself and have fun.”
Signed to a two-year, $9 million contract in the offseason to serve as the No. 2 receiver, Moncrief didn’t have much fun in the first two weeks. He had four drops in the season opener at New England, and a pass went through his hands for an interception against Seattle.
That was enough to land Moncrief on the inactive list against the 49ers.
“The first two weeks I felt I was putting too much pressure on myself, thinking too much,” Moncrief said. “Obviously that hurt, but like I said you’ve got to go out there and play.”
Standing on the sideline is a departure for a receiver who started 43 games and appeared in 71 of a possible 83 games since Moncrief made his NFL debut in 2014.
“Whatever they decide, it’s their decision,” Moncrief said. “They know what they want, and you just have to go with it.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .