Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens said his transition into his rookie year was eased by the quality of competition he faced while training in Georgia, where training was tougher than he experienced as an NFL rookie had experienced.
When asked about his teammate’s comments Friday, Steelers running back sophomore Najee Harris said he knew how that worked, having joined the NFL from Alabama. But before we get to that Harris said He had to talk “a little (expletive)” about the CFP national championship, which Pickens and Georgia won last season by beating Alabama 33-18 on Jan. 10.
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“Georgia, their staff came from Alabama, so all their stuff is from us,” Harris said“So obviously he got the stuff from us, so he’s really just following the leader as I see it. He’s got his weak butt tidy.”
At the 2021 Crimson Tide, two wide receivers were selected in the 2022 NFL Draft — first-rounder Jameson Williams, who had 79 receptions for 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, and second-rounder John Metchie III, who had 96 receptions for 1,142 yards and had eight touchdowns in the past season.
Metchie tore an anterior cruciate ligament in Alabama’s 41-24 win over Georgia in the SEC championship game on December 4, and Williams suffered the same injury during the CFP national championship game.
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Harris said He discounted Georgia’s national championship because “Bama’s players got injured”.
But he agreed with Pickens about the quality of competition in the programs that prepare players for the NFL. In his first NFL season, Harris set a rookie record in Pittsburgh with 1,200 rushing yards, led the NFL in contacts and went to the Pro Bowl.
“In practice, we play against a lot of first-round players” Harris said. “…GP, obviously they have players over there too. They obviously had great defenders from Georgia when I showed up as a freshman and played[Roquan Smith]. … They had such great players, and DBs came out too, and second-tier guys, so I can understand what GP is saying.
In his four seasons in Alabama, Harris played with 20 NFL Draft picks to date, including first-rounders Rashaan Evans, Daron Payne, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Quinnen Williams and Patrick Surtain II.
In his three seasons with Georgia, Pickens played with 15 NFL Draft picks to date, including first-rounders Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, Quay Walker, Devonte Wyatt and Lewis Cine.
Pickens, a two-time All-State selection and two-time AHSAA Class 7A champion at Hoover High School, came to Pittsburgh on April 29 in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Pickens has 33 receptions for 453 yards and two touchdowns for the Steelers. He and Harris are tied for team lead at touchdown receptions.
Pittsburgh are preparing to play the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Monday at 7:15 p.m. CST. ESPN will televise the game.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.