Carl Pickens
No. 80, 81, 86
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1970-03-23) March 23, 1970 (age 52)
Murphy, North Carolina
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Murphy (NC)
NFL Draft:1992 / Round: 2 / Pick: 31
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receiving Yards:7,129
Player stats at · PFR

Carl McNally Pickens (born March 23, 1970) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans.

Early life

Pickens attended Murphy High School in Murphy, North Carolina, a small town in the Smoky Mountains about 100 miles from Knoxville, Tennessee. He played free safety and wide receiver there, intercepting 15 passes in three seasons and catching 71 passes, including 24 for touchdowns, as a senior, when he was a Parade magazine All-American. He also returned punts and kickoffs, and punted. He also excelled at basketball, averaging 27 points per game and attracting the interest of many college programs.[1]

College career

Pickens played college football for the University of Tennessee from 1989–1991, where he started his career as a safety and was named a Freshman All-American and All-SEC selection. He then moved to wide receiver, where he caught 109 passes for 1,875 yards and 13 touchdowns, and made the College Football All-America Team as a junior. He did not return to Tennessee for his senior year. His college receiving statistics were:

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span
6 ft 2+14 in
(1.89 m)
206 lb
(93 kg)
31+12 in
(0.80 m)
8+14 in
(0.21 m)
All values from NFL Combine[2]

Cincinnati Bengals

Pickens was selected in the second round (31st overall) of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Cincinnati Bengals.[3]

In 1992, he was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press. In 1995, he set a Bengals record for receptions in a single season with 99, and touchdown catches with 17. He later surpassed his own record by recording 100 receptions in 1996. From 1994-1995, Pickens became the first NFL player to record at least five receptions and a receiving touchdown in eight straight games.[4] In his nine NFL seasons, Pickens recorded 540 receptions for 7,129 yards and 63 touchdowns, while also gaining another 307 yards and one touchdown on punt returns. His 63 touchdown receptions were a franchise record until surpassed by Chad Johnson in 2010.[3]

He is also known for the "Carl Pickens Clause". This was a loyalty clause that the Bengals created and added to Pickens's contract which would cause him to forfeit all or some of his signing bonus if he insulted the organization in public. This clause has since been used in contracts with other players.[5]

Tennessee Titans

Pickens moved on from the Cincinnati Bengals before the start of the 2000 season, instead joining the Tennessee Titans. He would play only one season for the Titans.

Dallas Cowboys

On April 5, 2001, Pickens signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys.[6] He announced his retirement on May 30.[7]

Personal life

Pickens was arrested January 5, 2014 for allegedly assaulting his wife after the two argued on a movie date.[8]


  1. ^ "Pickens Didn't Exactly Volunteer to Go Both Ways, but . . . : Cotton Bowl: Tennessee needed help in secondary, so it turned to backup wide receiver". December 29, 1989. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "Carl Pickens, Combine Results, WR - Tennessee". Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Carl Pickens Stats". January 1, 1970. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  4. ^ "Player Streak Finder |". Archived from the original on November 13, 2018.
  5. ^ "Arbitrator Rules for Bengals, Loyalty Clause Stays in Place". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved January 9, 2020.
  6. ^ "TRANSACTIONS". The New York Times. April 6, 2001. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  7. ^ "TRANSACTIONS". The New York Times. May 31, 2001. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Ex-NFL Star Carl Pickens Arrested - Allegedly Attacked Wife After Movie Date Gone Wrong". January 7, 2014. Retrieved September 20, 2018.