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George Pickens Slams Criticism for Sideline Outburst: ‘It’s Not Me, It’s Y’all’



Steelers WR George Pickens

PITTSBURGH — George Pickens isn’t blowing his frustrations out of the water. A day after Mike Tomlin went to bat for Pickens and his competitiveness, Pickens explained his emotional nature and frustrations about not getting the ball, which boiled over on the field during Sunday’s Steelers win over the Atlanta Falcons.

A talented rookie, Pickens has made some eye-popping plays that stand out immediately. However, he still is a rookie, and he showed what Tomlin called a lack of maturity and professionalism with a profanity-laden sideline outburst on Sunday, shouting, “throw me the f***ing ball,” as caught by TV cameras.

Rookie Kenny Pickett is still learning the ropes of the NFL along Pickens. He said Sunday after the game that he wants to get the ball to Pickens more. All parties seem interested in downplaying the significance of Pickens’ sideline tirade.

“I’m just saying, in general, I don’t want you guys painting anybody in a different light,” Pickens said. “It’s happened with a lot of receivers that I can name in the past.”

Tomlin noted that he loved to see Pickens’ frustration because it shows he wants the football. That desire to be a competitor is something that Tomlin wants to see out of Pickens, although he could see it come across in a more mature manner. Still, Tomlin called the discussion around Pickens silly.

“I’d rather say whoa than sic ’em,” Tomlin said. “I want a guy that wants to be a significant part of what we do. Now, the appropriate and professional and mature way to express it, is that we’re working on and that will continue.” 

Pickens says that in general, he is happy with his role, even if he wants more targets. in fact, Pickens even offered up a comparison for someone that he could be compared to in frustration — Terrell Owens. The often-maligned Owens was at the top of his craft, but his actions on the field rubbed some in the press the wrong way. Pickens believes this could be another example of that.

“Don’t try to make something out of nothing when there’s nothing there,” Pickens said. “You look at other players, literally every receiver in the past, you got T.O. and so many more names. It’s what you go out there and make out to be.”

So, the frustration was clear, but for Pickens, it is nothing different than wanting the ball and being competitive. In fact, Pickens emphatically placed the blame off himself. In his opinion, the media is painting him in a bad light that is not reflective of who he is.

“It’s not me, it’s y’all,” Pickens said.

Moreover, the opening statement that Pickens gave was a slamming account of what he views as mis-framed situation. He wanted to set the record straight right away, and from there, he brushed aside concerns that his frustration was anything more than competitive nature.

“I am not just going to be saying stuff for you guys to go out there and paint a story and make a statement bigger than it is,” Pickens said.

Moving forward, it seems the Steelers will try to get Pickens the ball more. However, they will teach him to display his frustrations as a receiver in a more mature way moving forward.