Ryan Clark’s comments about the Pittsburgh Steelers perceived lack of effort has already made it to the locker room. And Diontae Johnson disagrees with Clark’s assessment of the team. Speaking to reporters Monday, Johnson responded to Clark’s scathing words via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor.
“I’m not worried about RC, man,” Johnson told Pryor. “He played here. He knows how the Steelers play. If he wants to come play, he can come help us win if he’s got so much to say.”
As a refresher or if you missed it, Clark laid into the Steelers on Monday’s episode of Get Up, claiming Pittsburgh waved the white flag in their 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills yesterday. Here’s part of what Clark said:
“This team gave up. This team wasn’t playing anymore. It wasn’t important enough for them to go out and have pride in the way they approach the game.”
Valid or not, accusing anyone of quitting is a heavy charge so it’s no surprise to see Johnson take issue with the comment. But there’s no defending the Steelers’ terrible play, blown out on the road to drop their fourth straight game. It’s been one month since the team’s victory, their only one of the season, and it’s one of the worst starts Pittsburgh’s had since the merger. Since 1990, the Steelers have started a season 1-4 for just the third time though they all come in the last decade: 2013, 2019, and 2022.
Clark’s comments have started a back-and-forth. A short time ago, Clark responded to what Johnson had to say, though he noted Johnson has him blocked on Twitter.
Clark’s clearly not backing down on his comments. The only way for the Steelers to stop the criticism is by winning. Right now, they’re not in a position to be competitive, much less win, and will face Tom Brady and a tough Tampa Bay defense this weekend. It’s possible this team will be 1-7 at the bye week. In franchise history, the only time Pittsburgh began a year 1-7 was 1969, Chuck Noll’s first year. A sign that the Steelers needed to rebuild. 2022 is a sign they must do it again.