NFL Execs Don’t Think it WIll End Well in Pittsburgh for 1 Steelers Star: Report

The 2023 Pittsburgh Steelers season was a bit of a mixed bag for the team.

pittsburgh steelers

They had major quarterback issues and fired their offensive coordinator in the middle of the season.

They also won 10 games and made it to the playoffs.

It was also a mixed bag for one of their young stars.

George Pickens took big strides on the field and put himself into the Pro Bowl conversation.

He also unfortunately found himself as a topic of conversation for the wrong reasons a bit too frequently during the season.

Those issues might not be much of a surprise to some NFL executives.

During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan, Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio told Andrew Filliponi and Chris Mueller that Pickens doesn’t have a great reputation with executives around the league.

“I think they’re not surprised by what’s happened so far and they don’t think it’s gonna end well for Pickens in Pittsburgh or that it’s gonna end well for him anywhere.”

Pickens’ Issues With the Steelers

When Pickens fell to the later portion of the second round of the 2022 draft, there were a couple of reasons for his slide.

One was the ACL injury that cost him most of his junior season in college. There were concerns about when he would return to full strength and it also made it so he only played 24 games in his college career.

The other was concern about his maturity. He had been suspended for violating team rules while in college. He had been ejected from a game against Georgia Tech for a fight with an opponent. Pickens was also once penalized for squirting water at an opponent.

Discipline has continued to be an issue during his time in the NFL.

Pickens was publicly called out by Mike Tomlin because of his behavior in early December.

He was a topic of conversation again a couple of weeks later when he chose not to block for Jaylen Warren during a loss to the Colts. Once again, Tomlin had to comment on the young receiver.

“I would like him to be more professional in terms of addressing some of his shortcomings with you guys in order to further add fluidity to the process. He’s not helping himself, he’s not helping the process in the manner in which he has dealt with you guys. But the manner in which he deals with you guys is not necessarily the manner in which he deals with us or himself regarding acknowledging where he is or where he needs to go.”

Pickens also racked up more than $200 thousand in fines during the 2023 season.

These problems took away from what was actually a pretty strong season for Pickens.

The Positives

As much as these issues have been a distraction early in Pickens’ career, there were also some major positives for him during the 2023 season.

The first is the level of play he put on display during the season.

Despite the team’s quarterback issues, Pickens put together a big year in his second season in the league.

In year two, Pickens made 63 catches for 1140 yards and 5 touchdowns. That included a huge couple of games in weeks 16 and 17.

Pickens posted a combined 11 catches for 326 yards and 2 TDs in those games as the Steelers fought to keep their playoff hopes alive.

His approach to football also appeared to be turning a corner late in the season.

In Week 18, Pickens didn’t have a single target as the team played in miserable conditions. After the game, he was commended by quarterback Mason Rudolph for the way he handled his lack of involvement in the game.

It was a positive sign for Pickens to close out the regular season.

After just two years in the NFL, Pickens still has plenty of time to grow and these issues can become a distant memory if he has another big year in his third season.

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