Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on George Pickens' drama: 'It is a pebble in my shoe'
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has brushed aside the recent social media drama surrounding second-year receiver George Pickens.
Asked Tuesday about coaching a young player like Pickens through adversity, Tomlin dismissed the entire ordeal.
“Like breathing, it’s easy,” he said. “I know it’s a cute story for you guys, but it is a pebble in my shoe, to be quite honest with you, in terms of the things that I have to do in an effort to get this group ready to play this week. Our focus is on the Green Bay Packers and what we’re all going to do in this football game, and I can’t state it any plainer than that. It’s like reality television, the way you guys follow social media and write stories about it.”
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Over the weekend, Pickens raised eyebrows, sharing a post on social media that included the phrase “free me” while taking down Steelers-related content. The wideout reloaded some of the removed photos and deleted the “free me” post.
The social media ordeal came after Pickens was held to a career-low -1 yards on two catches in the Pittsburgh’s win over the Tennessee Titans last Thursday night. The wideout missed out on a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter when he failed to get a second foot down in bounds.
In eight contests, Pickens generated three 100-plus-yard games but also has four tilts below the 40-yard mark. In the past two games, veteran Diontae Johnson has seen a larger share of the targets. In Weeks 7 and 8, Johnson has caught 15 of 23 targets for 175 yards and a touchdown. Pickens, meanwhile, has three catches on 10 targets for 21 yards and a TD.
Tomlin said Pickens’ frustration is simply from wanting to help the Steelers win.
“Heck yeah, man. He expresses frustration all the time,” the coach told reporters on Tuesday. “He wants to be significant. He wants to be a reason why we are successful. Man, y’all don’t begrudge that. I want guys that want the football. I want guys who want to be central reasons of why we are successful. So, that’s a non-issue, to be quite honest with you.”
There is room for both Johnson and Pickens to produce in the Steelers offense. We’ll see if the proverbial squeaky wheel gets more grease in Week 10 as the Steelers host the Packers on Sunday.
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