The Pittsburgh Steelers have been down this road before. This franchise has had more than it’s share of wide receivers with attitude problems. The question now becomes does this team have a George Pickens problem? His latest outburst during the team’s win over Atlanta is cause for concern. Is this the path that leads to another Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant type situation?
Of course each individual is different. And each troubled wide receiver this franchise has had over the years had their own separate issues. Bryant had drug issues, Santonio Holmes had various off the field issues. Chase Claypool was immature, and who knows what the root of Antonio Brown’s problems were. The one common thread was that sooner or later, they became such an issue the team had to move on from them. Antonio Brown is His Own Worst Enemey
The difference between all these receivers in the past is it took time before we could see the warning signs. George Pickens on the other hand is twelve games into his Steelers career, and we are already seeing some concerning things. Sunday was a particularly eye opening game because Pickens was caught several times throwing tantrums about not getting the ball enough. At one point, Cam Heyward felt the need to go over and mentor the Steelers rookie after an outburst. This had little effect because shortly after their talk, Pickens was again caught on camera taking his helmet off and mouthing “get me the damn ball” by the television cameras.
There is a reason why such a physically gifted wide receiver lasted until midway through the second round. Most pointed to the injury Pickens suffered his final year at the University of Georgia. There were those in the league however who were turned off by the immature antics that plagued him his entire time there.
Bruce Feldman from the Athletic did an extensive piece on George Pickens prior to the draft. Several scouts, and coaches had reservations about the Georgia product. https://theathletic.com/3263599/2022/04/25/nfl-draft-2022-ickey-ekwonu-travon-walker-nakobe-dean/ Here are just some of the comments….
What’s possibly even more alarming than what Pickens has done, is the fact that Mike Tomlin seems unconcerned about the entire matter. Tomlin’s comments at his latest press conference seem to indicate he is fine with the behavior. Comments like “ I’d rather say woe than sick-‘em” and “I want competitors. I laugh at people trying to make this a negative story” show the Steelers coach is turning a blind eye to what could be a brewing issue. Tomlin’s reluctance to nip this in the bud is confusing to say the least. With all his experience with this in the past, you’d think he’d have had his fill of this type of behavior.
No one is saying that George Pickens is the next Antonio Brown or Martavis Bryant, not yet anyway. This franchise continues to take chances on wideouts with some baggage in the draft. It’s a philosophy that has come back to bite them on more than one occasion. Hopefully George Pickens can be the exception to the rule. Early results are not encouraging however.