Updated: Jun 21, 2021
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Mike Tomlin was reportedly high on Dwayne Haskins during the draft process and the two also share the same agent, Brian Levy. So, Tomlin has known about Haskins for a while and he gave a very candid response when asked about his relationship with the 24-year-old quarterback following the Steelers' second minicamp practice on Wednesday.
"Really, I’ve been more concerned about Dwayne the person, kind of getting to know him and getting an understanding of what he’s been through and how that’s shaped him, affected him positively and negatively, how it’s affected the growth and development of his game," Tomlin said. "I think, more than anything, Dwayne and I are just trying to get to know one another. I think it starts there, and then we can focus on some things relative to the game itself. I leave some of the minutia and some of the detail about his football development between him and Sully [Mike Sullivan] and [Matt] Canada. I just want to get to know the young man and help him grow in that way."
Haskins is getting a second chance in his NFL career with the Steelers after things ended up being a disaster in Washington. Just two years ago he was the 15th overall pick in the draft, but struggles on and off the field led to his release prior to the end of the 2020 season.
The Steelers signed Haskins to a reserve/future contract in January to compete with Mason Rudolph for the No. 2 quarterback position. The signing is considered a low-risk, high-reward type of move.
"Relationships are everything, on the field, off the field," Haskins said. "Coach Tomlin has been a great guy as far as getting to know me, as far as what I need to do as a quarterback and what I need to do off the field. He has been very hands-on with me and our communication. I am grateful for a Hall of Fame coach to take the time as far as helping me out. He has made that known to me. He has been a motivator talking to me. He has been great. Everything I have heard about him is true and everyone around here loves him."
Haskins has received a lot of praise from his teammates during OTAs and minicamp -- the biggest compliment coming from Ben Roethlisberger, who said Haskins' release and throwing mechanics are some of the "prettiest things" he's ever seen, along with saying that he could "throw a ball through a car wash and it wouldn't get wet."
Haskins is hoping his fresh opportunity in Pittsburgh will someday lead to him being the Steelers starting quarterback.
"My expectation here is to make everyone who took a chance on me look good," Haskins said. "Work as hard as I possibly can and let my work speak for itself. I want to take over after Big Ben, but that comes with due time. They expect a lot out of me as far as being prepared.
"I love Pittsburgh. I will do what I can to leave my mark here."