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Steelers' Mike Tomlin heard from WR George Pickens about frustrations: 'That's a non-issue'

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers talks with George Pickens #14 in the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 28, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wants to focus on football. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin isn't worried about wide receiver George Pickens' Instagram activity.

The 22-year-old had two catches for -1 yard in the team's 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night. The victory saw wide receiver Diontae Johnson score a late touchdown for the lead, his first in almost two years.

But Pickens didn't participate in the celebrations. Instead, cameras captured him looking upset on the bench. He almost had his own go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter, but he didn't get both feet inbounds. It was his second down game. He had just one catch for 22 yards in the team's Week 8 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In an apparently fed-up move, he removed all evidence of the Steelers from his Instagram page and shared an Instagram story that said "Free Me." Pickens reportedly also unfollowed teammates Johnson, Kenny Pickett and coach Tomlin.

During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Tomlin addressed the situation.

"Heck yeah, man," he said when asked if Pickens spoke to him about his feelings. "He expresses frustration all the time."

From Tomlin's perspective, it's not a negative thing. It shows that the second-year wideout "wants to be significant," which he has been. Before his recent slump, Pickens recorded two consecutive 100-yard games against the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams.

"He wants to be a reason why we're successful. I don't begrudge that," Tomlin added. "I want guys who want the football. I want guys who want to be central reasons why we're successful. That's a non-issue to be quite honest with you."

Pickett gave Pickens some credit after Thursday's win, saying that he demands attention from opposing defenses.

"The run game's opening up because of him," the quarterback said, via ESPN. "There's a lot of things that he's not getting credit for right now in the stat sheet, but he's helping us win football games."

On Saturday, most of the Steelers references were back on Pickens' social media. "Assumptions lol over a picture. That has nun to do with [football]. yall need urgentcare lol," he wrote on his Instagram story.

Dealing with any potential strife from players in these instances is "like breathing," Tomlin told reporters Tuesday while dismissing any suggestion of continued concern.

"It's easy," Tomlin said. "I know it's a cute story for you guys, but it is a pebble in my shoe, to be quite honest with you, in terms of the things that I have to do in an effort to get this group ready to play. It's like reality television, the way you guys follow social media and write stories about it."

Fulfilling their role as part of one of television's most-watched sports leagues, the Steelers will visit the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The matchup will air at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.