The talk of town has been rampant for the Steelers scores multiple topics in recent weeks. But one of those topics is George Pickens, who continues to become a national conversation for controversial plays.
On Saturday, there was another play that Pickens got caught in the crosswinds of criticism with after watching it. In the first quarter of the game, with the Steelers driving and just after Pickens had made a catch to put the team into the red zone, running back Jaylen Warren broke free and was headed to the end zone. Pickens was down field, but he made seemingly no effort to attempt to block Colts cornerback Jaylon Jones. Pickens stood still and watched as Jones made the tackle at the 1-yard line, preventing Warren from scoring.
Mike Tomlin sat down with Pickens last week to clear the air about his frustrations and lack of effort at times. But that seemed to not get through.
Tomlin described how defenses will come into a game with an agenda to attempt to limit an offensive star for as long as possible to start a game, with the hope that by doing so, they’ll grow frustrated and take themselves out of the game.
“He and I had a great meeting this week,” Tomlin said. “He needs to understand it is an agenda. It is a game plan. It is something that’s constructed to break him and the unit down. And that’s why it’s so important that he manages the frustration component of it.”
On Monday, Michael Smith and Charles Robinson of NBC Sports discussed Pickens’ behavior and they believe it’s time to move on.
“We have to figure out what’s going on with George Pickens,” Robinson said. “I would assess whether he should be in the organization for another year. Given what’s going on with him, I would consider trading him.”
Smith agreed with what Robinson had to say, adding that Pickens is a problem and the team needs to get rid of the toxic influence.
“Behind the scenes, I think you’ve heard the same things I’ve heard. Dude’s a problem,” Smith said.
Pickens didn’t have any notable verbal outbursts on the sideline, but he was again sulking on the bench during the game.
Tomlin took an unusual step in publicly detailing how and why one his players needs to improve. It’s up to Pickens to make it happen or he may get moved.