Pittsburgh Steelers (5-3) receiver George Pickens has sparsely been involved in the offense over the past two games.
After back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 5 and 7, Pickens has hauled in just three of his 10 targets for 21 yards, including a two reception, minus-one yard performance in the 20-16 Week 9 victory over the Tennessee Titans (3-5) Thursday. Pickens went public with his frustrations Friday, posting “Free me” on his Instagram story and scrubbing his social media clean.
Pickens also appears to have unfollowed quarterback Kenny Pickett, head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers’ official account.
The second-year wideout had his opportunities to contribute against the Titans, mainly in the third quarter. Open in the back corner of the end zone, Pickett connected with Pickens for what was initially thought to be a touchdown. But after a second look, it was clear Pickens failed to get a second foot down.
Mark Kaboly of The Athletic added context to Pickens’ frustrating night during an appearance on 93.7 The Fan.
“By far the first person that left the field, in the locker room and out the door. By far. He was not happy,” Kaboly said, via Steelers Wire. “I was told by people on the sidelines after the touchdown he didn’t really interact with anybody. Sulking his head in his hands.”
George Pickens taking back seat to Diontae Johnson
Pickens’ struggles have coincided with the return of fellow receiver Diontae Johnson‘s return to the lineup. Johnson, Pittsburgh’s leading receiver each of the last three seasons, missed four games with a hamstring injury. In three games since being back, he’s hauled in 20 receptions for 254 yards and a touchdown. Pickens, meanwhile, has reeled in eight catches for 128 yards and a score.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s game on his lack of targets, Pickens emphasized that much of it is out of his control.
“I can’t do nothing, ya know, but just to run my route,” Pickens said. “That’s pretty much it.”