Steelers wide receiver George Pickens took to Instagram on Friday, posting a story with a character who was frustrated with the words ‘Free Me’ under it. The post comes after Pickens appeared frustrated on the sidelines Thursday night following Diontae Johnson’s touchdown.
George Pickens posting “free me” on his IG story a few minutes ago. pic.twitter.com/xroR3TrsA0
— Derrick (@Steelers_DB) November 3, 2023
George Pickens unfollowed Diontae Johnson on Instagram.
— PickensBurgh (Tino) (@PickensBurgh) November 3, 2023
Pickens appeared to be in a solemn mood all of 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. The last move he would make was to scrub his entire page of Steelers-related posts. Is that concerning for a potential blow-up from George Pickens?
He could be frustrated by the attention he’s getting from defenses. Pickens has been the target of double coverage almost all season, and even with the return of Diontae Johnson, that hasn’t really let up. Teams seem comfortable in letting Johnson take short gains while keeping the big-play beast that is Pickens chained down. Of course, Pickens should have had a touchdown against the Titans, but he took too big of a step and went out of bounds.
Since Johnson returned to the lineup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 7, Johnson has 29 targets and 20 catches. Pickens has 18 targets and just eight catches.
This isn’t the first time that Pickens has shown his frustration. There have been multiple instances of his teammates talking him through his issues on the sideline over his two seasons, even in training camp. He’s an emotional player who wears his heart on his sleeve at times. So far, Pickens’ frustrations have not caused any noticeable negativity throughout the team. If that continues, his passion and desire to help his team win can be a positive. But he does have to learn to channel his frustrations professionally.