Ex-NFL star Donovan McNabb fires stark warning to Steelers’ George Pickens over effort issues

Former NFL star Donovan McNabb issued a warning to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens as the young player deals with blowback for failing to block against the Indianapolis Colts.

Pickens explained this week he didn’t want to get injured and sought to avoid what happened to Houston Texans rookie wide receiver Tank Dell.

McNabb explained in the latest episode of his OutKick show, “The Five Spot,” he has a problem with what Pickens said and his lack of effort.

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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens warms up before the start of a game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nev., Sept. 24, 2023. (Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports)

“If I’m running outside of the pocket and I’m trying to create plays and try to turn this thing around that we know has been a struggle, and I look and see a teammate of mine is standing there looking at me giving me his frontal numbers and not blocking the guy that’s standing next to him probably thinking, ‘What is he doing?’ And he comes and tattoos me to stop me from getting in the end zone, I have a problem with that,” he explained to OutKick senior NFL reporter Armando Salguero.

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“I have a problem because it’s showing a lack of effort. You’re showing you’re selfish and not playing for the team. Another thing that kinda comes to mind is, I mentioned before, this is not just one receiver. A couple of receivers were doing this. But Pickens is probably the one that is the most talented player that they have. He may be frustrated because he hasn’t been getting the ball, but don’t take it out on me as I’m the ball carrier and trying to help the team play.”

George Pickens warms up

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) warms up before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh Oct. 8, 2023. (Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports)

McNabb said it’s a revelation for him.

“So, that, to me, shows, one, you don’t care. Two, it’s all about you. Three … you’re trying to get to the end of the season and be done. … This is not a Mike Tomlin situation,” he said. “This is a culture thing. This is one in which I think the locker room has to police this and make sure this is the last time this happens because his next position he’ll be in will be out the door. I guarantee you that. You’re on a rookie deal. They will cut you or trade you as fast as they think you’ll catch the next slant.

“Is that well deserved? It probably is especially after that comment, in my eyes.”

The Steelers have had to deal with turmoil all season.

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Pittsburgh fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada after the offense sputtered. Complaints have come from Pickens and Diontae Johnson over their roles in the offense. And Kenny Pickett has been out with an injury.

George Pickens points

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens celebrates a reception during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati Nov. 26, 2023. (Joseph Maiorana/USA Today Sports)

Somehow, the Steelers are still in contention for a wild-card playoff berth. The team is 7-7 and sits one game behind the Colts for the final spot.

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Pittsburgh hosts the Bengals Saturday afternoon.

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