Most recently, Pickens was criticized for not showing enough effort on a block in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, and he excused his lackadaisical play by saying he didn’t want to risk injury.
Tomlin said that Pickens needs “to be more professional in terms of addressing his shortcomings” and that “he’s not helping himself” with such comments.
“When you’re winning and doing your jobs, a lot of the attention is on things such as that,” Tomlin said, via Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk. “When you’re not doing your job and losing, you better keep your damn mouth shut and understand that that tracks a certain type of attention, as well. And usually that’s vulture-like attention.”
Tomlin acknowledged that Pickens is a “work in progress” and that he is “growing” as a man and as a football player.
“He’s got talents, we want to utilize them,” Tomlin said. “He’s very much in growth and development, but it would be the same if we were winning games or if he said appropriate things to you guys yesterday. You guys might have gone away, but that wouldn’t have made me any more comfortable about this process that he’s going through. It is ongoing and continual and it will continue to require our attention.”
Pickens has not exactly made a whole lot of positive headlines this season. Earlier in the year, he posted “Free Me” on social media after logging two catches in a win over the Tennessee Titans. He has also expressed visible displays of frustration on the field, which Mike Tomlin was not happy about.
However, there is no denying Pickens’ talent.
The 22-year-old has hauled in 52 receptions for 814 yards and three touchdowns this season.
George Pickens was selected by the Steelers in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft and caught 52 passes for 801 yards and four scores during his rookie campaign.
Pittsburgh is 7-7 and will look to snap a three-game losing streak when it takes on the Cincinnati Bengals this Saturday.