LAS VEGAS – It’s the play Pitt fans love and will never not enjoy watching highlights of, but Kenny Pickett’s slide during the 2021 ACC Championship Game is something those on the other side like A.T. Perry would rather forget.
The Wake Forest wide receiver can’t help having that slide pop right into his mind when asked his feelings about now Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. Perry is at the East-West Shrine Bowl in Las Vegas all week as just another step in his journey that he hopes takes him to being drafted by an NFL team.
Could that team be Picket’s team? Could Perry become teammates with the man who beat him in the biggest game of his college career, partly aided by a slide that Perry seems to still be confused by? “The slide. The fake slide he scored on. It’s different. I’ve never seen that before,” said Perry.
I just had a great talk with AT Perry out of Wake Forest and he made a reference to "the slide" when I asked him about Kenny Pickett. He gave a laugh about it.
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) January 30, 2023
Despite the fact that hearing Pickett’s name brings up some less than pleasant memories for Perry, he would relish the opportunity to play with Pickett, who he considers a great quarterback, and will now be entering his second season in the NFL after experiencing plenty of game action as the starter throughout his rookie 2022 season. Perry does admit he does not know much about the Steelers system but says he would be willing to talk to Pickett and learn from him.
Joining the Steelers would create one more obstacle besides having to deal with the likely ribbing by Pickett about the slide and ACC title. Perry is used to getting the ball and getting the ball often. He put up a couple monster seasons at Wake Forest once he established himself as the go-to option in the Demon Deacons’ offense. Perry recorded 1,096 yards in 2022 and 1,293 yards the season prior in 2021. He did it while making 81 and 71 receptions respectively.
Would there even be room for him with the Steelers? How would he be able to truly do his thing with George Pickens coming off a solid rookie season and Diontae Johnson still in the fold, who dipped in production in 2022 but has shown he can post some big numbers in the past. Factor in tight end Pat Freiermuth, running back Najee Harris and even the potential of Calvin Austin once he’s healthy and the Steelers have plenty of youth in terms of offensive weapons already. Some feel they are looking to add to that, and there have even been rumors about trading Johnson, but it may not be easy for Perry to get involved as much as he would like right away.
Perry said he would think of being further down the death chart of an NFL offense as similar to being redshirted in college. “Use that time to control what you can control,” he added, bringing up how he would try to learn from the veterans on the team to get better once he does get an opportunity.
No matter which NFL teams takes a chance on Perry, it’s safe to say they are getting a player with tons of talent but also one that has the right attitude about entering the professional ranks.