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Merril Hoge Torches George Pickens: ‘He’s Very Immature’



Steelers WR George Pickens
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens sits on the sideline during his team's game against the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 2, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The George Pickens drama is mostly washing over. After a time, Pickens denied most of the usage related to the Steelers, while teammates talked about how they handled frustrations and walked Pickens through his frustrations and how to express them. But some people are concerned that Pickens is no good for Pittsburgh’s culture and will bubble up later.

Joining WDVE, former Steelers running back and analyst Merril Hoge does not believe you can win championships with someone like Pickens doing what they did. For him, selflessness is a massive tenant of allowing teams to breathe and reach their potential, and he does not see that from Pickens in any way.

“It does to speak to, I mean, he’s very immature… You point fingers and cast blame, but not one time did you look in the mirror,” Hoge said. “Not one time. And we’re not gonna build championships with people like you and attitudes like that. We just won’t. So, you wanna change that? Change that. If not, then we’re gonna have a problem going into the future.”

Steelers WR George Pickens

Steelers WR George Pickens against the Titans, Nov. 2, 2023 – Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Hoge got particularly upset that George Pickens did not take the blame for his failed touchdown reception against the Titans, where he failed to drag his toe. For Hoge, it shows a lack of maturity and shows that Pickens is selfish more than he is about winning, but Pickens denied that on Wednesday.

“Well, I don’t mix social media and football,” Pickens said. “I was just clearing out my page. That has nothing to do with anything. Certainly has nothing to do with the Steelers…we got the victory. Tae got a touchdown and we engineered a victory, that’s all. I was happy, if anything.”

What did Pickens Do to Express his Frustrations?

He posted a story with a character who was frustrated with the words ‘Free Me’ under it. He appeared to be solemn all Thursday night, with his body language on the sideline depicting just that. Not only did Pickens do that, but he unfollowed all offensive teammates aside from college teammate Broderick Jones and Mason Rudolph. His last move was to scrub his entire page of Steelers-related posts.

However, after archiving them, he added all those posts back to Instagram. He then followed back all teammates, including Diontae Johnson. He is trying to convey here that there was nothing to be concerned about from the start and that the drama was all manufactured.

In an Instagram story on Saturday, Pickens posted a simple message to those concerned that he was fed up with the organization.

“Assumptions lol over a picture,” Pickens wrote. “That has nothing to do with FB (Football). Y’all need urgent care lol.”

Simply put, Hoge hates the lack of accountability that Pickens is showing in this case, and he wants the team to have a long sit down with Pickens about looking in the mirror and making those changes before anything else.

“You’re gonna have to take and establish some way for him to establish ownership,” Hoge said. “And you gotta challenge him on that. You can’t just say well, he’s a young kid and make excuses for him. You point fingers and blame, but not one time did you look in the mirror.”

Pickens’ frustrations are rational, but he has to go about a more mature way of expressing them. I would not cast such a harsh shadow as Hoge does here, but Pickens and his teammates know he has to express those frustrations better. It becomes a distraction in the locker room and leads to Pickens becoming a potential factor that hurts them rather than helping them.