Connect with us

Steelers News

Mike Tomlin Won’t Bench George Pickens; Hints at Potential Discipline



Steelers WR George Pickens
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens at practice on Dec. 12, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — George Pickens is the center of conversation after his comments to the media on Tuesday. Players and coaches have noted that Pickens must understand things at a higher level and must mature. The latest to say that? None other than head coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin wants better maturity from Pickens in a press conference setting and on the field. He met with Pickens last week and did so again on Wednesday. All of that comes together to create a storm where Tomlin has to address Pickens’ actions, and he wants to educate him on becoming a professional.

“And part of it is education, and I want him to understand that as well,” Tomlin said. “When you’re winning and doing your jobs, man, a lot of attention and so forth is on things such as that. When you’re not doing the job and losing, you better keep your damn mouth shut and understand that that attracts a certain type of attention as well–and usually that’s a vulture-like attention.”

Steelers WR George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens in a game against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 16, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

However, not included in that is a benching. Tomlin did say that there could be a punishment, but not one that he will share publicly. Instead, they want to utilize his talents to allow him to grow within the system. But that maturity, at some point, has to come as Tomlin continues talking to him about his wrongdoings.

“Because he’s got talents. We want to utilize them. He’s very much in growth and development,” Tomlin said of Pickens. “But it would be the very same if we were winning games or he said appropriate things with you guys. That would have made you guys go away, but that wouldn’t have made me any more comfortable about this process that he’s going through. It will continue to require our attention. I’m just acknowledging it’s a process and our posture based on present circumstances won’t change.”

He does not believe that one meeting will change how Pickens will act, but it will require consistent attention to fix that. Tomlin wants to keep Pickens’ growth and development private and does not believe the public setting helps that growth for him. But he acknowledges that it can distract from on-field actions, meaning that Pickens becomes a detriment to the team. Tomlin took an unusual step in publicly detailing how and why one of his players needs to improve.  This is going a step further, although he believes in Pickens’ ability to grow. Tomlin says that Pickens did not talk to him about the reasoning behind his lack of effort while blocking for Jaylen Warren, but his reasoning to the media is a clear show of why he needs better maturity.

“He did not express it to me, but how he deals with us and how he deals with you guys might be two different things. And to be quite honest with you, it’s a reflection of maturity or needed growth in that area.”

George Pickens had no notable verbal outbursts on the sideline but was again sulking on the bench during the game. Moving forward, Pickens has to showcase that effort can change over the season’s last three games. No one is happy with the offense. It sucks to be on a losing team. But what Pickens is doing can not continue or it will only fester into something much bigger. That might Pickens’ way of protesting, but it’s actively hurting the team the way he goes about it.