UPDATE: Pickens has since deleted the Instagram story. A screenshot of it from when it was up is below.
Yesterday, Pittsburgh Steelers WR George Pickens posted a series of cryptic Instagram stories and also briefly took down most of his posts, including all of them with him in a Steelers uniform. The safe assumption to make was that Pickens, who had just two receptions for negative-one yards against the Tennessee Titans after having just one reception the week prior against the Jacksonville Jaguars, was upset about his role.
But Pickens posted, on Instagram, of course, that his posts yesterday had “nun to do with fb,” presumably with the fb meaning football.
“Assumptions lol over a picture. that has nun to do with fb,” Pickens said with laughing emojis. “yall need urgentcare lol,” Pickens wrote on his story.
Whether or not Pickens really was upset or not doesn’t matter at this point. He said it wasn’t about football, and from a locker room perspective and the perspective of the Steelers, they’ll move on. He said he’s not upset, and if he doesn’t have any attitude or visible frustration around and among his teammates, the Steelers will just get back to focusing on winning football games.
The fact that Pickens was also seemingly visibly frustrated, something that Mark Kaboly of The Athletic also said he was told, helped lead to the speculation that Pickens’ posts were football-related and about his role with the team. Since the return of WR Diontae Johnson from a hamstring injury, Pickens hasn’t been the focal point of the offense that he was, and for a young receiver, it’s got to be frustrating.
Obviously, voicing your frustration on social media isn’t the way to go about it, but Pickens never directly said anything, so it’s easy for the team to take him at his word that it wasn’t about football. Maybe it was about a relationship or something, but the fact is that the story should be over now, even if the original intent of the posts was to voice his frustration about what happened on the field.
While if that’s the case, it was immature and dumb, especially after a win, but Pickens is a young guy and probably does need to grow up a little bit, regardless of what happened yesterday. He had a boneheaded penalty against the Los Angeles Rams in Week Seven because they tried and succeeded at getting under his skin, and there’s some growing up to be done.
But in this particular case, it should be over. It happened, Pickens addressed it, and now he and the Steelers will move on and get ready for the Green Bay Packers in Week 10.