Steelers WR James Washington uses his 26-acre farm to get in shape

James Washington #13 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
James Washington #13 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Steelers James Washington isn’t your average breed of wide receiver. Here’s why his workout routine doesn’t consist of your typical home gym.

The term ‘diva’ is often used to describe NFL wide receivers. Many receivers are attention hogs who crave the spotlight and complain when things aren’t going their way. However, this stereotype couldn’t be farther from the truth when it comes to Steelers wide receiver, James Washington.

In fact, there may not a wide-outs in the league that are practicing social distancing quite like him. In a recent interview with Teresa Varley of, Washington shared what he’s been up to as of late. His offseason workout routine consists of everything he’s been doing on his 26-acre farm in rural Merkel, Texas. Here is some of what Washington had to say:

"“I am out there working every day… I am always out running sprints in front of the house. I have a big yard and it’s pretty flat. Usually, I will just run the sprints and then run some routes. I don’t have anyone throwing to me. I am ordering a Jugs machine so I will have an accurate ball every time… As far as lifting, the other day I was trimming trees around here and I don’t know if I ever felt my lats burn as much as they did when I was trimming trees and moving big old logs and stuff. For sure nature is giving me the best workouts.”"

It’s hard not to get a visual of Rocky Balboa’s workout in the frozen tundra of Russia in Rocky 4. Though the climate may not be the same, Washington seems to be using what nature has provided to keep himself in the best shape possible.

Still don’t think this qualifies as an NFL-level workout? Washington urges you to think again. Here’s more of what he has to say on his unusual routine:

"“They may not think I am working on football, but I think some of it translates. I am still running. I am out in the country, so I go on bike rides too. I am getting conditioning, working on the legs at the same time. I ride seven or eight miles. You may have one or two cars pass you, but you may see more cattle than people.”"

Washington is at worst in line to be the third wide receiver on the Steelers in 2020 – though it still remains to be seen how Ben Roethlisberger will divvy up targets this season. Last year, Washington took a big step forward from his disappointing rookie campaign in 2018.

With Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges leading a lackluster passing attack, Washington managed 44 catches for 735 yards (16.7 yards per reception), and 3 touchdowns in 2019. Entering his third NFL season, Washington will look to build on that performance in 2020.

It’s such an unusual time of social distancing in the world right now, but perhaps James Washington is doing things the right way. As of 2017, the population of Merkel, Texas was just 2,600 people, according to And with a 26-acre farm of his own, Washington can do nothing else but social distance himself this offseason.

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According to the article, Washington has already gone from 213 pounds at the end of last season to 205 pounds, and he believes that will help him on the field in 2020. The ‘nature workout’ helped Rocky defeat Ivan Drago and end the Cold War in the fictional movie series. Washington’s workout may not have the same level of impact, but all the hard work could pay off for him this season.