The Pittsburgh Steelers have a long, and infamous history at the wide receiver position. They are well known for their ability to draft talented players at that position. Some of those players have backfired on the team in terms of attitude, or off the field issues. Let’s take a look at some of the more notable Steelers diva wide receivers:
Plaxico Burress had his moments with the Steelers, both good and bad. Burress was drafted eigth overall in the 2000 draft. He went on to have some successful seasons with the team before leaving via free agency. While he didn’t cause anywhere near some of the problems players later on this list did, Burress did have his issues. His biggest gaff came after he left the team. Burress shot himself in a nightclub while with the Giants. Due to New York state’s strict gun laws, he would end up spending 20 months in prison.
Santonio Holmes is the only player on this list with a Super Bowl ring, and a Super Bowl MVP to go along with it. Shortly after this feat however, the Steelers would trade their star wide receiver because of frequent issues off the field. Prior to that incredible Super Bowl performance, Holmes was suspended by the team for two games in 2008 after being arrested for marijuana possession.
The 2009 season was the best of his career with 79 catches for 1,200 yards and 5 touchdowns. Because of his lingering issues with drugs however, the Steelers decided to move on from Holmes trading him to the New York Jets. His issues would follow him throughout the rest of his career. We can always wonder what could have been for the talented Santonio Holmes, but we will always have one of the most clutch performances in Super Bowl history to look back on.
Mike Wallace is the tamest of all the players on this list. There is no off the field issues, no conflicts with other player or coaches. Most of the drama with Wallace came with contract disputes, and holdouts. This is a player who always believed he was better than he really was. With Hines Ward before him, and Antonio Brown after him, there was no way Wallace would ever get a lucrative deal in Pittsburgh. He would eventually move on to the Miami Dolphins in free agency
And here we have the crown price of the Steelers diva wide receivers. The litany of off the field issues, and diva behavior is too long to list. We went through the most of the major transgressions in his time in Pittsburgh here: Antonio Brown is His Own Worst Enemey
Antonio Brown might very well be the greatest receiver in Steelers history. He is also the most derisive, and frustrating players to ever wear the jersey.
There may have been no more talented Steelers wide receiver in terms of physical skills than Martavis Bryant. The problem is he was also one of the most troubled. Bryant failed multiple drug tests that eventually got him suspended for an entire season with the Steelers. Coming back from that suspension the Steelers had already decided to move on having drafted Ju Ju Smith Schuster. His last year in Pittsburgh was predictably rocky between the continued drug use, and the greatly limited role he now found himself in. The Steelers would trade Bryant the very next offseason ending a tumultuous tenure in Pittsburgh.
Ju Ju Smith Schuster
We hesitate to even put Ju Ju Smith-Schuster on this list at all. On the field he was one of the toughest wide receivers of his era. Frequently sacrificing his own health catching suicide balls over the middle from Ben Roethlisberger. Still the multiple TikTok incidents, and the overall focus on his “brand” land Ju Ju on this list….. barely.
After a wonderful rookie season, all of Steelers nation thought they had an absolute steal from a second round pick in Chase Claypool. Unfortunately nobody thought that more than Chase Claypool himself. This is a classic case of believing you’ve arrived before you actually have. Now on his third team in four years, Claypool is in danger of washing out of the league. If Mike McDaniel can’t get to him in Miami, no one can.
There is a reason a freak athlete like George Pickens lasted until the second round. The red flags were there coming out of the University of Georgia. Pickens to this point has done nothing of real concern. He is not the first player to scrub his social media of any hint of his current team, or be seen pouting on the sidelines. This is however baby steps towards a much bigger issue. Steelers fans are all too familiar on how this can go nuclear in a hurry. George Pickens is already one of the Steelers diva receivers, to what degree remains to be seen.