The Cleveland Browns didn’t need any more bulletin board material for their playoff matchup against the Pittsburgh on Sunday, but Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster gave them quite the statement to rally around on Thursday.
“I think they’re still the same Browns teams I play every year,” the Steelers receiver told reporters Wednesday, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “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.”
The comments from Smith-Schuster were heard loud and clear from the Browns, who started to react on social media, most notably Mack Wilson, who posted a talking hand shortly after the comments went viral.
Browns wide receiver Rashard Higgins appeared to respond to the situation as well, replying to Wilson with a series of angry emojis.
Smith-Schuster is a solid wide receiver but hasn’t exactly been blowing up the box score against the Browns. In two games combined this season he has eight catches for 71 yards and 1 touchdown. He played in just one matchup against Cleveland last season, nothing just 21 yards on two catches.
The comments from Smith-Schuster come just a day after he delivered some bizarre comments on Browns star cornerback Denzel Ward.
“I think he’s good because his name is really cool,” Smith-Schuster told reporters on Wednesday. “He wears No. 21. I think he’s light-skinned, so he probably gets a lot of girls.”
Browns Appeared to Mock JuJu Smith-Schuster After Win
Wilson appeared to lead a group of Browns last week in an effort to troll Smith-Schuster after beating the Steelers 24-22. Wilson and Co. posted a video on social media in the locker room dancing to Popp Hunna’s “Adderall (Corvette Corvette),” which is Smith-Schuster’s song of choice.
Smith-Schuster’s dancing and TikTok habits have caused some unnecessary drama for the Steelers, especially when they slumped in the second half of the season.
“I am aware of it and I do plan to talk to JuJu,” Tomlin said in December. “But we’re professionals. I doubt any of those antics and things of that nature are legitimate motivating factors as you step into professional stadiums. But it’s about respect and so we’ll have a conversation.
“But I understand it’s about the quality of play inside the white lines. I’m not seeking comfort or looking for excuses based on our recent performances on things that occur in pregame or things of that nature that are social media related.”
Shortly after Smith-Schuster announced that he’d stop dancing pregame.
“For the betterment of myself and my teammates, I’m going to stop dancing on the logos,” Smith-Schuster announced to reporters.
Jarvis Landry Ready to Lead Browns Into Playoffs
It’s been a strange week for the Browns, who have not been able to get on the field to practice yet due to a string of COVID-19 positive tests. The team announced this week that head coach Kevin Stefanski, two assistant coaches, Pro Bowl left guard Joel Bitonio, safety Ronnie Harrison and wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge will miss the game after testing positive. Cornerbacks Denzel Ward Kevin Johnson, linebacker Malcolm Smith and tight end Harrison Bryant are still on the list but could potentially come off in time for the game.
B.J. Goodson, the Browns leading tackler, and safety Andrew Sendejo were activated this week from the reserve/COVID list.
While it’s not the ideal conditions, the Browns have all the motivation to pull off the victory.
“Nobody expected us to make the playoffs,” Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry told reporters. “Nobody expected us to win 11 games. Nobody expected for things to be turned around here in Cleveland – no one. I guess in a sense it’s some added motivation, but that’s something that we’ve all internalized and kind of always kind of felt.
“We’re not paying attention to too much outside noise. They’re going to show up and play, and we have to do the same.”