Throughout the 2023 season, Steelers star wide receiver George Pickens has accumulated over $200,000 in fines, according to a report by Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports. While publicly, there are only $33,000 in fines available; Jones reports that the team and NFL have fined him an additional $167,000 for undisclosed incidents. Pickens has made critical comments towards the media and has been called out for his effort while blocking for players throughout the season. He has displayed impatience on the sideline, too.
It is unknown if that is where the fines stem from, but Jones says that after talks with veteran teammates and Mike Tomlin, the team believes that George Pickens’ attitude is turning the corner. Those fines represent 13 percent of Pickens’ salary this season.
After a game last week in Baltimore, where Pickens had just one touch for three yards, Mason Rudolph complimented Pickens for the maturity that he showcased during the game.
“Yes, absolutely. They double-covered [George Pickens for] most of the game,” Rudolph said. “I told him I was very proud of the way he handled it. I thought it was very mature – team first attitude. He was not whining or asking for the ball. He knew schematically they were trying to take him away. I think that’s a form of flattery from a defense. They know how explosive he is. We blocked hard all day. He was excited for his teammates, and that was awesome to see.”
The team challenged Pickens to do differently the next time a tenuous situation occurred. Pickens responded with his most complete game as a professional receiver. Now, he has responded with maturity, even when shut out. Allen Robinson II talked about his growth after the Cincinnati game.
“Definitely, there was a lot of growth shown,” Robinson said. “He’s a guy who has not even completed his full second year yet. There’s a lot of learning that’s taking place and will take place. As you are moving and taking steps forward to ascending to be a great player but understanding the professionalism and the things that come with that, sometimes it is a learning process. He’s doing that. For us, it’s continuing to deliver the message. We have to continue to talk and communicate and help him be the best version of himself. George, the football stuff, we saw today what he is capable of all year.”
This can be the first step in the road of learning for a young player. Pickens is his own player with a swagger on himself that makes him who he is naturally. There are simply ways to express frustrations with the offense around him. He is only 22, and now, it seems Pickens is starting to embrace his role in the team.