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In what was a rare occurrence, Mike Tomlin conducted a midweek media session in an attempt to fan the flames currently engulfing George Pickens. The Steelers' second-year receiver is currently under the microscope after not hustling on several plays during this past Saturday's loss to the Colts, then attempting to justify his actions in controversial fashion while also criticizing the media on Tuesday. 

Tomlin said that Pickens will start Saturday's must-win game against the Bengals, but that doesn't mean that Pickens is absolved of punishment for his recent actions. Tomlin did not disclose what those possible punishments are or could be. 

"George is a talented guy but he's growing and growing in a lot of ways in regards to football and life," Tomlin said, via ESPN. "We don't run away from that. We run to that organizationally when we draft guys. We're committed to being a component of their growth and development in all areas."

Tomlin wants Pickens to be more professional with the media moving forward. Pickens blamed the media -- and not his recent on-field actions -- for the criticism he is currently receiving. 

"When you're winning and doing your jobs, a lot of the attention is on things such as that," Tomlin said. "When you're not doing your job and losing, you better keep your damn mouth shut and understand that that tracks a certain type of attention, as well. And usually that's vulture-like attention."

As far as Pickens' excuse to the media for not blocking on a run by teammate Jaylen Warren last Saturday (Pickens said he didn't want to get hurt), Tomlin said that that wasn't the reason Pickens gave him when the two discussed the matter. 

Tomlin said that Pickens' situation is not unique to him and is very much a rerun of previous situations he's had with other players. Tomlin said he and the Steelers have had success in the past when it comes to helping players develop as young adults. 

When asked about how the locker room reacted to Pickens' comments about not wanting to get hurt, Tomlin advised the reporter who asked the question to "ask them." 

Allen Robinson II, the elder statesman of Pittsburgh's receiving corps, did address the situation on Tuesday. 

"That's something that he has to compartmentalize and understand in that situations, regardless in the league, you've got to put the efforts out there to create winning habits," Robinson said, via Steelers Now. "I think regardless for younger players it may take some time to understand that or see that. 

"Him being able to see that and how certain efforts on the field, how those can kind of be game-changing situations, whether it be a touchdown or a tackle at the 1, or so on and so forth. Luckily we were able to score on that drive, but continuing to help him understand and compartmentalize the big picture of the team efforts."

One would expect that Pickens will give a better effort on Saturday. But if not, don't expect the home crowd -- which has become disillusioned amid the team's recent losing streak -- to give him a free pass. 

Pickens' current situation is the latest in what has been a tumultuous season for a Steelers team that was expected to compete for a division title. The Steelers fired their offensive coordinator in Week 11, have lost to two 2-10 teams and have dealt with a myriad of injuries that hasn't made things any easier. 

Despite all of their warts, Pittsburgh can still make the playoffs if it manages to win its remaining three games, starting with Saturday's game against Cincinnati.