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Allen Robinson Leading the Way for Talented Steelers WRs



Steelers Freiermuth Robinson
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Allen Robinson and tight end Pat Freiermuth at training camp, July 27, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

UNITY TWP., Pa. — George Pickens was hot.

But the second-year Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver wasn’t complaining about the heat, as things progressed into the second week at a surprisingly mild St. Vincent College on Wednesday.

He was hot emotionally, about what he perceived as a bad call.

Late in Wednesday’s practice, Pickens went down the field, matched up one-on-one, as he has been almost all training camp, against rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr.

RELATED: Pickens, Porter Locked in Intense Training Camp Battle

Porter had Pickens well covered, so he broke off his route and Kenny Pickett heaved a ball to the back shoulder of the receiver — the same kind of target that resulted in Pickens’ viral catch over Porter the previous day.

WATCH: George Pickens on Viral Catch, Camp Battle with Joey Porter Jr.

This time, Pickens went up and made a much more normal catch. But on Wednesday, NFL referees were working practice for the Steelers, and a yellow handkerchief came flying in, to signify an offensive pass interference penalty against Pickens.

Pickens was hot. The emotive youngster took off his helmet and started stalking around the offensive formation on his way back to the sideline. Right behind him, step for step, was veteran receiver Allen Robinson II.

Robinson was brought in by the Steelers this offseason in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams to be the team’s starting slot receiver, and also provide the versatility to move outside, should the team want a tweak and provide depth.

But the fact that he’s a nine-year vet wasn’t lost on the Steelers, and his been-there, done-that nature is certainly something the Steelers hoped would wear off on the youngsters at that spot. Wednesday, that was probably his biggest contribution.

“There’s an educational process that goes on in environments like this, whether the call is correct or not, or whether you agree or disagree,” head coach Mike Tomlin said. “Some of the learning that goes on for young people in an environment like this that are working their tails off to compete, and it becomes somewhat emotional.”

It’s not just Robinson’s status as a veteran that allowed him to be of assistance, but his nature as a player that is somewhat more disposed to keeping his cool under fire.

Steelers WR George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens greets fans before practice, Aug. 2, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

“I’m a very reflective person, so being able to see some of the things that George is going through from a mental standpoint, whatever that would be some adversity with a call like that or different things like that, I put myself in those shoes,” Robinson said. “Where was my mind at? Where was my though process at in my second year? Because I had moments like that during training camp and times like that during games where you get frustrated.

“So it’s just being able to talk to him, keep the big picture in mind, on just what we want to get accomplished and how he can’t let certain things like that get to him, especially in this setting. … At the end of the day, for me, it’s just about talking to our guys and helping our room.”

Robinson’s mentorship hasn’t all been of the emotional or philosophical variety, either. The veteran is scheduled to play in the slot for the Steelers, but has worked outside, as well. Pickens wants to be able to add that type of versatility to his game, and a more-complete route tree is one of his stated goals. So he hasn’t been shy about going to Robinson for information, too.

“Allen Robinson is a guy that’s very technical,” Pickens said. “He’s really a guy that you can learn a lot from in terms of leverage.”

Pickens spent most of his rookie season terrorizing cornerbacks with downfield deep balls, but a more well-rounded version of himself could bring Pickens quickly into conversation as one of the league’s greats.

“The sky is the limit,” Robinson said. “I don’t feel like you can put a limit on what his potential is. He can take it wherever he wants to take it.”

The Steelers hope Robinson can help guide him there.

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