Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7) rookie receiver George Pickens was visibly frustrated during the 19-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons (5-8) in Week 13 Sunday.
After fellow receiver Diontae Johnson nearly fumbled in the fourth quarter, cameras picked up Pickens yelling “Throw me the f—— ball.” Speaking with the media for the first time since Sunday, Pickens downplayed the sideline outburst.
“Before we start this, I ain’t going to be just saying stuff for you all to just paint a story [and] make a statement bigger than what it is, or make something bigger than what it is,” Pickens said Wednesday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN.
Steelers veteran defensive lineman Cameron Heyward consoled Pickens on the sideline afterward. Prior to Pickens speaking out on the outburst, head coach Mike Tomlin said he didn’t have a problem with it.
“I’d rather say ‘Whoa’ than ‘Sic ’em,'” Tomlin said Tuesday. “I want a guy that wants to be a significant part of what it is that we do. Now, the appropriate and professional and mature way to express that, we’re growing and working on, and we will continue to. But that spirit, that competitive spirit, the guy that wants the ball. I want that guy.”
George Pickens Moving On From Sunday’s Incident
Though he hauled in just one of two targets for two yards against Atlanta, Pickens said he’s comfortable with his role in the offense. The second-round selection out of Georgia has hauled in 37 receptions for 512 yards with two touchdowns this season.
“I feel like every player got that in him, it is just what you record.” Pickens said. “Don’t try to make something it’s not, because every player, literally every receiver in the past before — you got T.O. [Terrell Owens] — I can name so many names. It’s just what you want to make it out to be.”