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Steelers Daily Links: Cam Heyward Makes Top 100, Pickens Best in the World?



steelers WR George Pickens
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris’ jersey, No. 32, will be retired during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Immaculate Reception which will be held when the Steelers play the Las Vegas Raiders December 24. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver George Pickens told Kevin Clark of The Ringer that he believes he’s the best wide receiver in the world.

“The stuff that I do, bro, I feel like I’m the best in the whole world,” Pickens said. “I’m big, I’m fast, low 4.4 [speed]. Catch radius is crazy. So every time I get out on the field, I do kind of play angry because I should get the ball on every play if you just look at the size and the frame. If I was a coach, I’d just throw to him every time. But that’s not how the NFL works. So every time I’m out there, that’s why I throw the blocks. I love getting the ball, and when I’m not getting the ball I play angry so the attention is back on me. I basically draw attention to myself.”

Clark asked Pickens to clarify the “best in the world” comment. Did he mean that he’s the best in the world at a particular set of skills?

Pickens cut him off.

“Receiver in the world. I’m not going to lie to you. People don’t realize, he says, how much receivers are judged without the context of their circumstances. “If you want a receiver, you create a player, it’s ‘Oh, I’m gonna put his blocking 99, catching 99, speed 99.’ That’s me. Anybody else, it’s almost like 85s, but they’ve got [Aaron Rodgers] as their quarterback; 90 but he’s got the old Patriots [offense]. This shit is rigged, bro,” he says with a big smile. Pickens is laughing, but he isn’t joking. He loved his chemistry with Pickett last season, by the way, so do not take the above as a dig. “But yeah, shit is rigged. As far as what you’d use to build a receiver, I’m the ideal guy.”

🏈 Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward came in at No. 45 on the NFL Network’s Top 100 Players of 2023 list, which is voted on by the players. Heyward, who was named to the AFC roster for the Pro Bowl Games last year, finished the season second on the Steelers with 10.5 sacks and led the team with 14 tackles for a loss. He amassed 74 tackles, 39 of them solo stops, and added four passes defensed, 22 quarterback hurries and a forced fumble and fumble recovery.

🏈 According to Pro Football Focus, Minkah Fitzpatrick has the most interceptions + forced incompletions (42) among safeties in the league since 2018.

🏈 With it being his second training camp, Kenny Pickett says he has a complete control over the offense now. It’s a night-and-day difference compared to last year when he was competing for the starting quarterback position.

I have a better understanding of the offense,” Pickett told NFL Media. “I can communicate better with guys, because we automatically have a familiarity. I can communicate a lot more clearly than a year before.”

Pickett says he believes he showed as a rookie that he’s on the right track.

“I liked the decisions I was making and how fast I was making them,” Pickett said. “And being smart with the football and knowing when to take shots when we have looks that allow us to go deep and give these guys chances down the field. Just the consistency I was playing with, I really liked. I want to be consistently good, then I’ll be happy with how the year goes.”

🏈 J.J. Watt joked on Twitter that he can only listen to his brother T.J. cry about Cam Heyward finally beating him in chess so many times. Earlier this week, T.J. posted on Instagram that he was 3-0 against Heyward in chess.

The Steelers introduced their official sideline hats for the 2023 season.

🎂 Happy Birthday to former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, born on August 1, 1986 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Wallace, who was drafted by the Steelers in the third round out of the University of Mississippi in 2009, was a lethal deep threat for Pittsburgh from 2009 to 2012, averaging 17.2 yards per catch and 32 touchdowns over the four seasons. Wallace made the Pro Bowl in 2011 after a season in which he caught 72 passes for 1,193 yards (16.6 average) and eight touchdowns.

After the 2011 season, Wallace held out from all of the team’s OTAs, and held out the majority of training camp. He reported on August 28, 2012. Following the 2012 season, Wallace signed a five-year deal worth $60 million with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. Wallace only last two seasons in Miami, however, before he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings in March of 2015. He played one season in Minnesota, two in Baltimore and a year in Philadelphia before calling it a career. Wallace had decent production in Miami and Baltimore, but it wasn’t like it was in Pittsburgh with Ben Roethlisberger as his quarterback.

🎥 Former Steelers defensive end Aaron Smith’s only AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor came in Week 15 of the 2008 season against the Baltimore Ravens. Smith recorded eight tackles, a sack and the defense held Baltimore to only 202 yards of offense. The Steelers defeated Baltimore, 13-9, and clinched the AFC North thanks to a Santonio Holmes game-winning goal-line touchdown reception.

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