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Daily Links: Pickens-Pickett Chemistry, Ranking Steelers Tailgates



Steelers Pickett Pickens
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver George Pickens at training camp, Aug. 5, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Second-year Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens talked about his chemistry with Kenny Picket on the Rich Eisen Show.

“Me and Kenny are super good friends off the field, so on the field stuff is kind of routine,” Pickens said. “Just talking and chatting. We’re in training camp right now so we are brotherly love and camaraderie with the guys.”

Eisen followed up with asking if Pickens and Pickett go out to see a movie together or dinner.

“Nah, that’s my QB, not my girlfriend,” Pickens said about going to the movies. “We’ve been to dinner before, for sure. But nothing crazy. We’ll probably go to a restaurant where people already know us a little bit so there won’t be much of a problem.”

🏈 Mike Band of Next Gen Stats thinks George Pickens is set for a massive leap in Year 2.

“Pickens stepped in as the No. 2 wideout in Pittsburgh right out of the gate as a rookie, totaling 52 receptions on 84 targets for 801 yards and four touchdowns over 17 games (12 starts). Entering Year 2, there is reason to believe he will improve on those numbers,” Band wrote.

“In his first NFL season, Pickens finished among the top 20 in total routes run (548), but was targeted on just 15.3 percent of those routes (compared to Diontae Johnson’s 25.3 percent target rate). When Pickens was targeted, the young receiver made the most of his opportunities, excelling in difficult situations. Pickens finished his rookie year ranked among the top five in deep receptions (13, tied for fourth), tight-window receptions (17, second) and receiving yards over expected on targets outside the numbers (+166, third). If the Steelers can draw up higher-probability looks for Pickens in the passing game, expect his receiving volume to increase without taking a hit in efficiency.”

🏈 Former Steelers free safety Ryan Clark addressed his controversial comment that George Pickens is more talented than Minnesota Vikings All-Pro wide receiver Justin Jefferson. As expected, Clark received a lot of flak on Twitter from Vikings fans.

“Dear people who are upset that I said George Pickens is more talented than Justin Jefferson you are behaving as if I said he was better. I’ll give you another one. Aaron Rodgers is much more talented than Tom Brady. Oh BTW Brady is the greatest to ever play the position. If you understand the second, it should help you with the first,” Clark tweeted.

🏈 According to a study from Crestline, Steelers fans rank No. 10 in the league when it comes to best tailgates. The study based its findings on food and drink options, the size of the tailgate and attire. New Orleans Saints fans took home the top spot.

🏈 Mike Tomlin thanked the Plum Youth Football team for coming to the Steelers training camp practice on Thursday. The Steelers invited the football teammates of Keegan Clontz, the 12-year-old Plum boy that died in the tragic Rustic Ridge gas explosion last weekend.

Clontz played for the Plum Midget Football Association, and had been set to enter junior high this fall for the Plum Mustangs. Clontz wore No. 40 for the Plum Mustangs youth team, and they hung his jersey at practice this week. The team had been scheduled to start its season last Saturday, but will instead play its first game at West Mifflin this weekend.

“Thank you Plum Youth Football for coming out and spending the day with us at training camp. Our thoughts are with everyone in the Plum community,” Tomlin wrote on Instagram.

RELATED: Steelers Host Football Teammates of Boy Killed in Plum Explosion

📅 Born on Aug. 18, 1968 in Seneca, New York, Justin Strzelczyk became a beloved member of the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line and after his death, one of the catalysts for research into the dangers of concussions in contact sports.

Strzelczyk graduated from West Seneca West High School and attended football at Maine. An invite to the East-West Shrine Game helped him catch the eye of Steelers head coach Chuck Noll, who picked him in the 11th round of the 1990 NFL Draft.

Strzelczyk spent his first two seasons as a backup that barely played, but an injury to Tunch Ilkin opened the door to more playing time for him in 1992. After he got hold of a starting spot, he never let it go, moving from right tackle to right guard, left guard and left tackle whenever the Steelers needed him to.

A series of injuries ended Strzelczyk’s career in 2000. In 2004, at the age of 36, Strzelczyk died in a wrong-way highway collision after a high-speed chase on the New York Thruway.

Initially believed to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Strzelczyk’s autopsy by Pitt neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu revealed brain damage instead.

Omalu later linked Strzelczyk’s death to those of other NFL players, including Steelers linemen Mike Webster and Terry Long, beginning research into chronic traumatic encephalopathy, also known as CTE.

🎥 Analyst/scout Brandon Thorn posted a clip of Nate Herbig’s pancake block in last Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: What kind of season should the Penguins expect from Erik Karlsson?

Pittsburgh Baseball Now: Pirates top prospect Termarr Johnson was injured in a minor-league game.

Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt‘s offense has a new feel in Year 2 under Frank Cignetti.

West Virginia Sports Now: WVU basketball landed a commitment from Eastern Michigan’s Noah Farrakhan.

Nittany Sports Now: Penn State wide receiver Omari Evans is on a prestigious watch list.

Pittsburgh Soccer Now: The road woes continue for the Riverhounds, who lost 1-0 to Orange County.

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