AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, George Pickens



  • Browns OC Alex Van Pelt said QB Joe Flacco suffered an ankle injury but it is not considered serious: “Joe Flacco tweaked calf but I don’t expect it to be an issue,” per Scott Petrak. 


There was a moment in Week 15 where Steelers WR George Pickens didn’t finish a block which would’ve enabled RB Jaylen Warren to score a touchdown. Pickens recalled the play, saying that he wanted to avoid an injury similar to Texans WR Tank Dells fractured fibula after getting rolled up on. 

“I was trying to prevent a Tank Dell situation,” Pickens said, via Joe Rutter. “I didn’t want to get injured. When you stay in and block somebody, you can get run on very easily.”

Pickens feels like the media is leading the scrutiny against him and he’s improved in several areas as a receiver. 

“I feel like the reason I would be still fighting it is because of a lot guys not playing football,” Pickens said. “It’s guys having an opinion… Now, they want to say differently, look at the routes this year, the yardage, the catch radius, the run after catch, a lot of stuff.”

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson is working to keep Pickens’ “spirits up” and help him control his emotions. 

“It’s my job and everybody’s job to rally around a guy like that, George specifically,” Johnson said. “Just to keep his spirits up, keep his head in the game so when the ball comes his way, he’s able to make a play. That’s just part of the game — emotions. It’s tough, emotions are part of the game, but I don’t want to sit here and just speak like George is the problem with the offense. That’s not the case.”

  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin on Pickens: “I would like him to be more professional in terms of addressing some of his shortcomings with you guys [media] to further add fluidity to the process. He’s not helping himself, he’s not helping the process in the manner in which he’s dealt with you guys, but the manner in which he deals with you guys is not necessarily a manner in which he deals with us or himself regarding acknowledging where he is and where he needs to go.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Tomlin added: “George is a talented guy but is growing in lot of ways in football and in life.” (Mark Kaboly)

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