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George Pickens Pulls ‘All-Nighters, Just Thinking About Football’



George Pickens
Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens at the team's first OTAs session, May 21, 2024 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens is heading into a pivotal Year 3. With Diontae Johnson now in Carolina, he is the clear-cut No. 1 wide receiver.

And it appears that Pickens is willing to do whatever it takes to take his career to new heights. Even if it means losing sleep.

Pickens told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he doesn’t take time off. He even claimed that sometimes he don’t even sleep and will pull all-nighters, just thinking about football.

Pickens displayed some character issues last season, and some contributed that to Johnson having a bad influence on him. There was speculation that the Steelers traded Johnson to the Panthers because of this.

Mike Tomlin said at the NFL owner’s meetings that a desire to upgrade the team’s cornerback position was the driving force behind the team trading Johnson to Carolina, however, and that he did not specifically request a trade.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens at the team’s first OTAs session, May 21, 2024 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The issue surrounding Johnson and Pickens last season were mostly connected to mental lapses on the field.

Last season, Johnson let a mental lapse and loss of focus become the signature moment of his season when he failed to react to a Jaylen Warren fumble and was fortunate his gaffe did not result in a Cincinnati Bengals defensive touchdown.

Nearly three weeks later against the Indianapolis Colts, Pickens had his own embarrassing play. That controversy came upon Pickens after a lack of effort on a Warren run that could have been a touchdown. Pickens said that he was trying to avoid a “Tank Dell situation,” referring to the Houston Texans wide receiver who broke his leg getting rolled up on near the goal line. He bashed the media, too, and Mike Tomlin ended up holding a press conference saying he had to be more mature.

In larger part, due to the mental lapses, wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson didn’t have his contract renewed after the season and the Steelers hired Zach Azzanni to replace him.

As mentioned, Pickens is now the longest tenured receiver with the Steelers in the room, and they’ll need him to not only step up on the field, but as a leader too. It appears that he’s fully committed to fulfilling those responsibilities.