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#pounditTuesday, June 18, 2024

Steelers were surprised by Kenny Pickett’s reaction to QB signing

Kenny Pickett throws a pass during practice

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) participates in drills during Rookie Minicamp at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers fully anticipated having Russell Wilson and Kenny Pickett as their quarterback tandem for 2024, but they were very wrong in their assessment of how Pickett would respond to the move.

A new story from Brooke Pryor of ESPN went into how the Steelers overhauled their quarterback room during the offseason. The story discussed Pickett’s reaction to the Wilson signing and subsequent trade. According to the story, the team definitely had Pickett in their thoughts even when adding Wilson.

The Steelers thought Wilson’s presence would be a “benefit” to Pickett, and expected that adding Wilson would “kick Kenny into gear” and drive him to be more competitive. Ultimately, the exact opposite happened, as Pickett believed the Wilson addition represented the Steelers going back on a pledge to give him first-team reps in any quarterback competition.

Reports suggested that Pickett did not handle Wilson’s arrival well, which prompted the team to trade him to Philadelphia. Pickett himself certainly did not deny that he was not happy with how things went behind closed doors.

Pickett ultimately believed that he would get a fair shot at the starting job and saw Wilson’s arrival as undermining that. The Steelers saw things differently. Clearly, the two were not on the same page, and the trade was inevitable at that stage.

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