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Kenny Pickett skips final media availability of season

Kenny Pickett's career is quickly at a crossroads. And he likely knows it.

The Steelers' starting quarterback was essentially benched for Mason Rudolph late in the season, with Pickett not returning to the lineup once he recovered from an ankle injury that required surgery. It has raised real questions about the future of the position in Pittsburgh.

Pickett apparently didn't want to face any such questions during the annual media availability that happens on the final day of the yeer, when players conduct exit interviews after they clean out their lockers.

Via Ray Fittipaldi of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pickett wasn’t present for the routine Q&A.

A first-round pick in 2022, Pickett has very affordable (and fully-guaranteed) salaries of $1.983 million in 2024 and $2.623 million in 2025. Even if he's not the starter, the Steelers can keep him for two more years, as a backup.

Pickett might not like that. He could, in theory, ask for a trade. The question then would be whether another team would do that deal.

Pickett's career passer rating is 78.8, which is far from stellar. He has 13 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions, in 25 career games. With all due respect to Pickett, there's nothing he does that's remarkable or spectacular. There's never been the kind of eye-popping throw that would prompt someone to say, "Wow, do that again." It's all very meat and potatoes, and the meat is Salisbury steak and the potatoes came from a box.

It's not a major surprise. Everyone knew the Steelers had interest in Pickett, and no one bothered to try to leapfrog the Steelers to get him.

It's not impossible for Pickett to take his game to a new level. There's just nothing we've seen in 25 regular-season games that creates confidence that a major bump in performance is coming.

The Steelers know it; otherwise, Pickett would have been put back on the field once he was healthy. Pickett knows it; otherwise, he would have spoken to reporters on his way out the door on Tuesday.