Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens recently observed that while he was a student with the Georgia Bulldogs he found his drills more difficult than he did this season in the NFL – playing against his own defense.
As might be expected, the casual remark attracted attention out of proportion to its importance, although some have rightly pointed out that it should come as no surprise for a player from a performing collegiate program to find it more difficult especially for one who has won a championship.
Alabama running back Najee Harris didn’t disagree with Pickens’ observation that the collegiate drills were more difficult, although he felt the need to point out what made the Bulldogs’ drills as tough as his teammate might have found them.
“Well, I’m going to talk some shit because Georgia, her staff was from Alabama, so all her stuff is from us,” he said of Brooke Pryor. “Obviously he got the stuff from us, so he’s really just following the leader as I see it. He fixed his weak butt neatly [national title]“.
He spoke with humour, of course, poking fun at his teammate while retaining bragging rights for his alma mater. And he made sure to point out all the NFL talent he faced in practice while he was at the Crimson Tide.
“I played against Minkah [Fitzpatrick]. I played against Levi [Wallace], to. There are a few guys on this team that I’ve played against who are first-rounders or starters with careers in the NFL,” he said. “They teach you a lot about the little things on defense that they look at on offense.”
Harris added that Fitzpatrick has been a mentor to him and has been since he was drafted, acknowledging that Georgia also had similar talent when Pickens was there, with great defensive players, as he pointed out to Roquan Smith.
The Bulldogs, of course, beat Alabama in the championship game last season. As Harris pointed out, the Crimson Tide has struggled with injuries, particularly at wide receivers. Of course, Pickens was also injured that year but came back to play in the championship game and made a critical play.
Though they’re all Steelers and teammates now, it just goes to show that old loyalties aren’t fading anytime soon. New teammates can bond through shared college experiences, which happens all the time. rivalries included.