T.J. Watt Strongly Defends Ex-Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster Amid Off-Field Drama

Getty T.J. Watt recently defended his former teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster.

It didn’t take long for JuJu Smith-Schuster to accomplish what the Steelers couldn’t during his five seasons in Pittsburgh. Eleven months after his one-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers expired, the wide receiver basked in the glory of a momentous Super Bowl win with his new Kansas City Chiefs team.

Depending on what side of the fence you’re on, Smith-Schuster’s career in Pittsburgh was either too long or not long enough. There are even some fans who’d like to see the impending free agent return to the Steel City.

No matter your outlook, what can’t be denied is the toughness he displayed, most notably during what would be his final season in the black and gold. After Smith-Schuster dislocated his shoulder in Pittsburgh’s 27-19 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 5 of 2021, it was reported that he would have surgery and be sidelined for four months. He returned ahead of schedule to play in his final game with the Steelers, a Wild Card matchup versus his future Chiefs team.

Steelers star defender T.J. Watt talked at length about Smith-Schuster’s toughness and work ethic with Football Morning in America‘s Peter King on The Peter King Podcast.

“I have all the respect in the world for JuJu, especially as a football player and as a teammate,” Watt said. “I know a lot of people always see the viral videos and the TikToks, but the guy loves football, he loves his teammates, he works hard.”

Smith-Schuster missed one game after sustaining a concussion on a nasty hit in Week 10. He exited the Chiefs-Bengals AFC Championship game early with a knee injury but played in the Super Bowl thanks to the hiatus between games.

“Guys are always putting their bodies on the line,” said Watt. “I feel like sometimes people don’t realize how hard a full NFL season is on your body. And like you were saying about JuJu putting him back together, quote-unquote, he’s gonna do whatever it possibly takes to be as healthy as possible, not just for himself, but for his team to put them in the best position to win the game.”

“You only have so much time to play this game, and sometimes you have to remind yourself that, hey, I am living the dream. And so many people would give their left arm to be playing in the National Football League, to be playing these big-time games, and be doing what you love for a living. And that’s why it’s so fun to see guys that understand that and appreciate that and love to practice, love to grind and stuff like that is contagious in a building. And I think that’s what you see with JuJu.”

JuJu Smith-Schuster Sparks Twitter War with Eagles Players, Fans on Valentine’s Day

NFL Memes compiles a hilarious set of NFL-themed Valentine’s Day cards every year. One version referenced a controversial defensive holding call near the end of Super Bowl 57 that ultimately ended the game. The greeting read: “I’ll hold you when it matters most,” above a headshot of Philadelphia Eagles‘ James Bradberry.

It escalated into a case of too soon when JuJu Smith-Schuster retweeted it less than 48 hours after the infamous penalty. He was on the other end of the call and saw it as a moment to have a laugh at Bradberry’s expense. He likely regretted it after touching a nerve that sparked a days-long Twitter war with Eagles fans and players.

Receiver A.J. Brown was the first player to respond to Smith-Schuster’s post but wasn’t the last. Several of Bradberry’s teammates had his back, and Chief’s quarterback Patrick Mahomes even got in on it.

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