Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Diontae Johnson continues to generate headlines for reasons that may bother or irk some fans ahead of the preseason opener versus the Seattle Seahawks this Saturday.
Johnson was first involved in a so-called “hold in” and was not a full participant during early training camp practices as he looked to secure a contract extension while in the final year of his rookie deal. The 26-year-old and the Steelers ultimately came to terms on a two-year, $36.71 million extension that includes $27 million guaranteed, but many were quick to point out such an agreement would not necessarily keep Johnson attached to the club beyond the upcoming season.
Then, it was learned Monday that Johnson was dealing with a hip flexor injury right as fellow receiver Chase Claypool returned from a shoulder issue. There is now a new twist to the summer Johnson saga.
As noted by Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk and Maddie Aiken of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Johnson is being sued by FlexWork Sports Management for allegedly failing to appear at a May youth football camp that he reportedly agreed to host. The amount FlexWork is seeking in damages wasn’t specified.
According to the stories, Johnson was scheduled to host the camp on May 22 at Cupples Stadium in Pittsburgh, but the receiver’s representatives blamed weather-related flight problems for his absence. FlexWork, meanwhile, says that “it did not learn Johnson’s flight had been canceled until the wide receiver’s agent texted FlexWork leaders 13 minutes before camp was scheduled to begin.” The company also claims it has reimbursed $36,099.33 in registration fees and provided would-be attendees with credits to attend a future camp at zero cost.
The lawsuit says the agent told FlexWork that Johnson “obviously already agreed to do a free make-up camp and give every camper a pair of signed Nike gloves that he tries on.” FlexWork insists it spent over $14,000 on operational expenses for the camp.