Legendary Steelers coach Bill Cowher says George Pickens’ lack of effort is ‘bothersome’


Another prominent member of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization has vocalized his displeasure with arguably their best wide receiver.

George Pickens has caught flak within the last few weeks, most recently after not blocking a cornerback on what likely would have been a touchdown had he done so.

Even earlier this month, he was visibly frustrated on the sidelines, and after a Week 9 game where he finished with minus-1 receiving yards, he posted on X, formerly Twitter, “free me.”

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Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bill Cowher appears during the Hall of Fame Press conference during the NFL Honors at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami on Feb. 1, 2020. (Rich Graessle/PPI/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

His current head coach, Mike Tomlin, lambasted him earlier this week, and now, Tomlin’s predecessor has spoken up about Pickens.

Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher said he “could never imagine” a player “not performing and giving everything.”

“It is disappointing to see and hear what George Pickens talks about, because culture really is about commitment and sacrifice,” Cowher said Thursday on “The Pat McAfee Show.” “You’re not just playing with one another, you’re playing for one another.”

Mike Tomlin and George Pickens

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks with wide receiver George Pickens during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Nov. 28, 2022. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

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Cowher said he’s able to excuse mistakes on the field, “but the one thing that should never be questioned is your effort and your ability to be there for your teammate, picking somebody up.”

“That is very bothersome. I think there’s got to be consequences for that, so we’ll see what happens with it,” he said. “He’s going to be held accountable, because you have to have accountability. If you don’t do anything and there’s no consequence to the choice that he made, now you’re losing accountability, and I think that’s a very important element that you have to have in that building.”

Running back Jaylen Warren, whom Pickens didn’t block for in order to, in his own words, avoid injury, said that he “would have blocked for” Pickens if the roles were reversed — but “some people play the game differently.”

George Pickens smiles

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens warms up before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada, on Sept. 24. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)

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The Steelers will look to get back in the win column on Saturday when they host the Cincinnati Bengals. A fourth consecutive loss could put a huge damper on their playoff hopes.

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