Steelers WR George Pickens Blasted for Response to ‘Classless’ Hit

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens celebrates after a touchdown.

George Pickens keeps adding more fuel to the fire of the renewed rivalry between the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals.

It all started with just 44 seconds remaining in Pittsburgh’s Week 11 matchup on November 20. Pickens came down hard on Bengals receiver Tyler Boyd with an egregious late hit during the recovery of an onside kick. A flag was thrown for unnecessary roughness, and Pickens was disqualified.

Until the ejection, Pickens enjoyed his second-best game of the season with 83 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.

The NFL did not see the play as one that warranted further discipline. When fines were announced on November 26, George Pickens’ name was not on it.

Steelers, Bengals Fans React to George Pickens’ Response

Not surprisingly, the lead question posed to George Pickens during his first media availability on November 25 was what happened.

“I was really more focused on the game,” Pickens said. “I had a great game, so I don’t really pay no attention to it or harp on it.”

“It’s really nothing. It didn’t cost us a game or anything,” Pickens continued. “I could see if it was a jeopardizing position in the game or it hurt the lead or destroyed the game or was the reason we lost. No. So it really was nothing, really, that you could say.”

Pickens’ blasé answer ruffled some feathers.

Steelers fan Kate Magdziuk tweeted: “I’d like to see more ownership there. It showed a lack of discipline and lack of regard for player safety. Unnecessary and just cause it didn’t change anything in the game doesn’t mean it wasn’t problematic on several levels for the team.”

“If y’all thought the guy wearing a sheisty mask on draft day who fought someone in college during a game was gonna suddenly flip a switch and be Larry Fitz idk what to tell y’all lol,” Steelers fan Bruce Becker tweeted.


Bengals fans had to chime in with their two cents, of course.

“Classless hit when the game is completely over and dropped a touchdown. Sure had a great game,” Cinci Moe replied.

“What a despicable answer. Basically, it was the end of the game so he can be a dirty player. Typical dirty Steeler,” Bengals & Baskets replied.

Jarrett Bailey, NFL contributor to USA Today and SINow, took a different approach. “Bengals fans: I don’t recall you begging Vontaze Burfict to apologize to Antonio Brown,” he tweeted. “Calm down on the George Pickens thing. No one was seriously hurt. Relax.”

Of course, Bailey is referring to Burfict’s shot at Antonio Browns’ head in a 2016 Wild Card game. It’s talked about to this day as the hit that made Antonio Brown who he is today.

Mike Tomlin Should Be Straight With George Pickens

Yes, George Pickens is right. His late hit had no impact on the Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals game whatsoever.

Pickens told Steelers media that Mike Tomlin didn’t talk with him about his actions. But if Tomlin doesn’t address unnecessary penalties like this one with Pickens now, the incident can quickly snowball.

The Georgia product, who led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns as a freshman, earned a bit of a reputation for being a menace on the football field.

In November 2019, Pickens was ejected after punches were thrown during a tilt versus Georgia Tech. The brawl ultimately got him suspended for the first half of the SEC Championship Game.

On the other hand, Tomlin has earned a reputation for not being hard enough on his players. Throughout his career, the Steelers have been accused of lacking discipline.

Najee Harris commented on it in an October 30 media scrum.

“We lack a lot of stuff,” Harris told Steelers media. “We lack a lot of experience, lack a lot of discipline, accountability. We lack a lot. We can’t go forward without correcting the little things that are affecting us. That is stuff we talk about every week.”

As a head coach and leader of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tomlin needs to let Pickens know that unnecessary penalty-causing incidents won’t be tolerated.


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