Smith-Schuster was asked about his “Browns is the Browns” quote he dropped before the AFC North foes faced off in the Wild Card round.
“I think they’re still the same Browns teams I play every year,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think they’re nameless gray faces. They have a couple good players on their team, but at the end of the day, I don’t know. The Browns is the Browns.”
Obviously, that didn’t age well, with the Browns winning the matchup 48-37, leading 35-10 at halftime.
With a few months to reflect, Smith-Schuster still doesn’t regret what he said.
“Probably a lot, honestly,” Smith-Schuster said during an appearance on PFT PM. “I’m not going to lie to you. It got to a point where the Cleveland Browns had a billboard up in Cleveland that said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ I think by me saying that, it says that a lot of people care about what I say. …. At the end of the day, I said what I said. I don’t take anything back. They did come out there, they did whoop our ass. It is what it is. We lost that game. We lost early in that game in the first five, 10 minutes. We still fought. I’ll tell you one thing about our team, we still fought to the end. It wasn’t good enough. I just know the AFC North [is] just probably the hardest … division right now to win in. Guys like Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Ben. I think every team is getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Man, they’re really good.’ It is what it is.”
Smith-Schuster was a free agent this offseason but opted to return to the Steelers on a 1-year, $8 million deal.
Browns Have Let Smith-Schuster Hear It Following Diss
As Smith-Schuster points out, he’s been hearing it about his now-infamous quote. After beating the Steelers, the Browns trolled the Steelers pass-catcher hard, leading to a war of words.
“If the Browns had won with more class, then I wouldn’t have been so salty about it, but them mocking JuJu during the game and after the game just didn’t sit right with me,” Smith-Schuster’s teammate Chase Claypool said. “They were just super classless, you know against JuJu, towards JuJu what they were saying on the field towards the end of the game, so I’m not going to have respect for a team that doesn’t have respect for us.”
The Browns were able to move on from that game and leave the trash talk with their AFC North rival in the past. Cleveland up a good fight against Kansas City, but a late rally wasn’t enough as the Browns fell 22-17.
Browns Loaded Up on Defense in Offseason
Things won’t be getting easier for Smith-Schuster and the Steelers against the Browns next season. Cleveland loaded up on defense in free agency and the draft, with names like John Johnson III, rookies Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and — of course — Jadeveon Clowney. The Browns are now among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
The Browns come in at +1600, behind only Kansas City (+450), Tampa Bay (+750), Baltimore (+1200), Buffalo (+1200) and the Los Angeles Rams (+1200, per VegasInsider.com. The Steelers are listed at +5000 to win it all.