After two straight 100-yard games for Pickens, that hasn’t happened. And he’s apparently not happy with the current state of affairs.
He had one catch for 22 yards in Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars. Last night, he had two catches for minus-one yards.
And while he would have had a touchdown pass if he had dragged a toe instead of planting a foot, the fact remains that the Steelers aren’t scheming to get him the ball. They aren’t getting passes to him whenever he’s in single coverage. Because, frankly, whenever he’s in single coverage, he’s open.
I asked him after last month’s win over the Ravens, in which he caught the deciding touchdown pass, whether anyone can cover him one on one.
“No, man,” he said. “No.”
Why is that?
“Just strictly off of my mechanics,” Pickens said at the time. “I’d probably say the long speed, you know, guys panic a lot too. They give me a lot of space off the release. So I’d probably send my long speed, and if he tries to play over top, I’m a back-shoulder guy, too, so yeah, you can kind of say it’s unguardable.”
Now, a day after the win over the Titans, there’s social-media chatter about Pickens’s apparently stripping his accounts of All Things Steelers. Multiple tweets from a variety of eagle-eyed observers noted that Pickens posted “free me” in his Instagram story, before deleting it. Currently, there’s only one post on his Instagram page: A compilation of highlights from the University of Georgia.
Mark Kaboly of TheAthletic.com said on 93.7 The Fan on Friday that Pickens clearly wasn’t pleased after Thursday night’s win.
“By far the first person that left the field, in the locker room and out the door,” Kaboly said. “By far. He was not happy. I was told by people on the sidelines after the touchdown, he didn’t really interact with anybody. Sulking his head in his hands.”
Pickens admitted during our conversation after the Baltimore victory that his lack of involvement is sometimes “disheartening” but that, thanks to great defensive performances, “my spirits will be down, but it’ll be right back up there quickly.”
He’s possibly disheartened today because there’s still no commitment to getting him the ball.
Pickens told me it would be a “Madden dream” to get the ball every play. Currently, he’s hardly getting it at all. And it’s possible, based on his social-media Easter eggs, that even after a prime-time win, his frustration is reaching a critical mass.