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Daily Links: Pickens Wanted No. 1 with Steelers; Tomlin Tops in First 250



Steelers WR George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens nearly didn’t wear No. 14, and head coach Mike Tomlin has set a record for coaching wins to start a career.

🏈 George Pickens said he tried to get No. 1 but the Steelers didn’t give it to him. Gary Anderson is the last Steeler to wear No. 1., which was in 1994. “That’s really the number that they gave me, to be honest,” Pickens said about getting No. 14. on Arthur Moats’ podcast. “I tried to get No. 1, but I think it’s like sacred, or retired or something like that. I wasn’t tweaking about it foreal, foreal. I was like forget it, might as well.” Pickens wore No. 1 at Georgia.

🏈 Minkah Fitzpatrick has 41 combined interceptions + forced incompletions since joining the Steelers in 2019. That’s the most among all safeties during that time period, according to Pro Football Focus.

🏈 Cameron Heyward’s 90.4 PFF grade this season ranks fifth among interior defensive linemen through Week 16. It’s his fourth consecutive year ranking in the top-5 at the position. Heyward, 33, just gets better with age.

🏈 Kenny Pickett became the first rookie quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to win four-plus games (as a starter) and throw fewer than two interceptions over the course of November/December.

🏈 Larry Fitzgerald reflects on meeting Franco Harris for the first time when he was 20 years old at Pitt.

🏈 Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Roquan Smith remembers watching the Steelers-Ravens rivalry when he was a kid. “I always knew it was a very physical game,” Smith said. “You definitely feel like there are some slobber-knockers. Guys want to run right at you [to] test your manhood in a sense. I love that. I live for that.”

🏈 Ryan Clark doesn’t miss the physicality of the Steelers-Ravens games in the mid-to-late 2000s. “Yea, I’m not sure I’d go back and do that all over again,” Clark tweeted about his bone-crushing hit on Willis McGahee in the 2008 AFC Championship Game.

🏈 Mike Tomlin’s 157 regular-season victories in his first 250 games are the most since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

🏈 The Dallas Cowboys could become the second team in NFL history to lead the league in takeaways in consecutive seasons. The Steelers (1972-74) are the only team to accomplish that feat.

📅 On this date, Dec. 31, 1989, the Steelers beat the Houston Oilers, 26-23 on a 50-yard Gary Anderson field goal in overtime to advance to the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs. Tim Worley and Merril Hoge scored touchdowns, including Hoge’s game-tying score with 46 seconds to play. Anderson kicked four field goals, but only got a chance in overtime thanks to Rod Woodson forcing and recovering a Lorenzo Neal fumble.


🏈 Another mock draft from CBS Sports has the Steelers taking Georgia tackle Broderick Jones at No. 16 in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.

🏈 A pick for the Steelers to watch seems to be the Chicago Bears at No. 2. Many analysts have the Bears taking edge rusher Will Anderson from Alabama after Houston goes quarterback at No. 1. But if Chicago wants a tackle instead, local Northwestern product Peter Skoronski will be there, and that could make it tougher for the Steelers to get a tackle at No. 16. The Bears are also a candidate to trade down in the first round.

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🏈 The Steelers have a walkthrough that is closed to the media before their flight to Baltimore.


Steelers Pittsburgh Sports Now A Ben Sauls field goal pushed Pitt to a 37-35 win over UCLA in a classic finish in the Sun Bowl. Jamarius Burton scored 31 as Pitt basketball upset North Carolina, 76-74 at the Pete.

Steelers Pittsburgh Hockey Now The Penguins power play went 0-9 and the Devils came from behind to win 4-2 at PPG Paints Arena. The Winter Classic is up next. The Pens have lost four straight.

 WVU WR Bryce Ford-Wheaton has been invited to the 2023 NFL Combine.

 Penn State defenders Adisa Isaac and Curtis Jacobs are still undecided about their NFL future after the Roster Bowl.

 The Pirates remembered the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of Roberto Clemente.

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