George Pickens had a strong first 58 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The last two, though, were a bit rockier. And he didn’t even technically make it through the final seconds, ejected for an illegal hit on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ onside kick attempt with 45 seconds to play.
Though it was a sour end to a good day, Pickens told reporters Thursday he’s more focused on the things he did right than the things he did wrong.
“I was really more focused on the game,” Pickens said as tweeted by The Trib’s Chris Adamski. “I had a great game.”
Pickens finished the day with four catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, an overall impressive performance that showed he could be more than just a jump ball receiver. But the end of the game was tougher than the start, dropping a walk-in touchdown on the final offensive possession before getting ejected for this hit on the ensuing onside kick on Bengals’ WR Tyler Boyd.
Pickens had skirmishes in college, leading some to wonder about his hot-head in the pre-draft process. But since the moment they drafted him, the Steelers have been adamant they’ve had zero concerns about his character and this blip aside, Pickens has been nothing but professional in Pittsburgh.
Though there’s no defending his actions, he said he hasn’t dwelled on it much since it didn’t determine the outcome of the game. And he said coaches haven’t spent much time talking to him about it.
“I could see if it…destroyed the game. If it was the reason we last. Nah.”
While the hit had no impact on the result, it will have an impact on Pickens’ wallet. If it hasn’t happened already, Pickens will be receiving a holiday note from the league in the form of a fine for his actions. Expect that news to officially come across on Saturday and Pickens’ fine should be a relatively hefty one for a guy on his rookie contract.