Earlier this week, the Baltimore Ravens signed former 49ers cornerback Tre Swilling to their practice squad. They have some injuries in the secondary and can use the extra depth at cornerback, and Swilling is a player who has been on multiple 53-man rosters and is a depth-capable guy. However, since it’s Ravens and Steelers week, it’s interesting that Swilling has a notable history with Steelers wide receiver George Pickens.
Pickens, who played at Georgia, saw Swilling in their annual rivalry game with Georgia Tech. Swilling and Pickens went at it all game, but it culminated in an explosive brawl that defined Pickens’ ‘dawg’ energy coming out of Georgia in the NFL Draft. That fight occurred during Pickens’ freshman year at Georgia in 2019 and ended with both players ejected.
The Ravens just signed CB Tre Swilling to their practice squad.
To say the least, he’s got some history with George Pickens.
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) October 3, 2023
That’s a little bit of old-school Ravens and Steelers for you, where those fights were routine and commonplace. But this week, the Steelera are embracing that rivalry at its traditional roots. It’s no surprise they donned pads after being dominated up front by the Texans, but more than that, it prepares them for Ravens week, which is set to be their most physical game yet on the season. Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen, for example, said that this week is personal. Roquan Smith doesn’t believe he is a Raven until he beats the Steelers.
“I don’t care if he was joking, I don’t care if he was serious. At the end of day, I’m on your sideline and you’re telling me I’m not a Raven. It’s kind of disrespectful. It’s personal,” Queen said.
Pickens is approaching it with the mindset of being physical. The history with Swilling exemplifies that he is not scared to get dirty if you need him to do that. Pickens will look to make an impact in this game without Diontae Johnson and could see a familiar face in the returning Marlon Humphrey, who practiced for the first time all season on Wednesday.
“Yeah, you know this is a rivalry, and it’s going to be physical,” Pickens said. “I feel like that’s how you have to approach it. You have to be ready for that physicality. It’ll be good.”
Pittsburgh now has an opportunity to shock the Ravens following a dominant win over the Browns and, more importantly, after the Steelers faltered against the Texans. With the bye week next week and division position on the line, it’s a massive game for both teams to win.