Mike Tomlin made it clear during his weekly press conference that he has no issues with George Pickens' desire to have a bigger impact in games.
The Steelers head coach was asked three consecutive questions near the end of his presser about Pickens, who created a stir late last week when he posted while scrubbing the Steelers from his social media page. The second-year receiver had just three catches in Pittsburgh's last two games, as teams have been actively trying to limit his effectiveness.
"We appreciate his talents," Tomlin said. "We respect what people do to minimize his talents, but we function as a collective. And there's some benefits for our collective when people make the type of commitment that they made recently when they try to minimize their impact on the game."
Tomlin was asked about whether or not he has had to deal with Pickens voicing his frustrations from time to time. That's when Tomlin made it clear that Pickens' desire to make plays was a good thing, not a bad thing.
"Heck yeah, man. He expresses frustration all the time," Tomlin said. "He wants to be significant. He wants to be a reason why we're successful. I don't begrudge that. 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."
Pittsburgh's coach further made his point when he was asked about the challenges associated with dealing with a young player who may not be happy with his role.
"Like breathing," Tomlin replied. "It's easy. 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 this week. Our focus is on the Green Bay Packers and what we're all gonna do in this football game, and I can't state it any plainer than that.
"It's like reality television," Tomlin continued, "the way you guys follow social media and write stories about it."
As far as getting Pickens more involved, Tomlin doesn't see that as being an issue, either. He alluded to how the team moved Pickens around when Diontae Johnson was injured, and he feels that Pickens can make a similar impact with Johnson back in the lineup.
Tomlin's possible frustration with the topic is understandable. Of all the things he talked about and could talk about, he probably didn't want to give any more life to a storyline he feels shouldn't be one. And he's probably right, as Pickens' social media actions -- regardless of its intent -- has no bearing on what will happen Sunday when the Steelers and Packers play each other.
But at the same time, it is news when a player as notable as Pickens does odd things on social media, especially given the fact he has had a history of showing his frustration during games. As Tomlin says, the NFL is an entertainment business, and that's why some people want to know what their team's best players are doing off the field, especially if that player may have done something to suggest that he is not happy.
Fortunately for Tomlin, most of his questions this season have largely been centered on football-related topics. Gone are the days of the "Killer Bs" when Tomlin seemingly was asked drama-laced questions on a daily basis.
Speaking of football-related topics, Tomlin confirmed that rookies Broderick Jones and Joey Porter Jr. will continue to have starting roles. Jones started at right tackle against the Titans and helped the Steelers rush for a season-high 166 yards in a 20-16 win. Porter started at cornerback and helped limit DeAndre Hopkins to four receptions on 11 targets.