In four seasons in Pittsburgh, James Washington could never quite stand out from the crowd. The receiver would have games where he'd flash upside, but Washington never put it together consistently.
After signing a one-year deal in Dallas, Washington aims to prove he can be more than what he showed with the Steelers.
"I feel like with everything that transpired at Pittsburgh, I didn't really get to show my full self," Washington said Thursday, via Jori Epstein of USA Today. "We had a crowded room at receiver. But nothing against anyone else, I feel like there's a lot of meat left on the bone. I didn't really get to fully develop myself and make strides like I wanted to.
"I'm going to take full advantage of this opportunity in Dallas. Do what I can so that they get 110% of me and I can reach my full potential."
In four years with the Steelers, Washington generated 114 catches for 1,629 yards and 11 touchdowns. The bulk of his production came in 2019 when he earned 735 yards on 44 catches with three TDs, averaging a whopping 16.7 yards per catch. In the other three seasons, Washington earned fewer than 400 yards receiving.
In 2021, Washington was mired in a rotation. He played more than 50 percent of the snaps in just five games and saw fewer than 45 percent of the reps in his final seven games with Pittsburgh, including the postseason.
The 25-year-old with speed to burn, who flashed playmaking ability when given a chance, believes he has more room to grow.
"I want to grow my game to be who I was in college, because I feel like who I was in college is who I'm meant to be," Washington said. "I want to be that downfield threat, that physical guy, get involved in the run game. I want to do everything."
With Amari Cooper traded to Cleveland and Cedrick Wilson signing in Miami, there is an opening in Dallas for Washington to shine as an every-down player alongside CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. On a one-year, prove-it deal, Washington is in a place where he should finally have a chance to prove he's more than a rotational filler.