Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was knocked out of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 27-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, November 13, after he absorbed a monstrous hit from second-year safety Andre Cisco.
The “really scary play,” as ESPN NFL insider Field Yates put it, took place with six-and-a-half minutes to go in the second quarter on a third-and-four from Kansas City’s 43-yard-line. Smith-Schuster was running a crossing route when he was blindsided by the Jacksonville safety as he attempted to haul in a pass from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Smith-Schuster appeared to have been knocked unconscious by the hit, and teammate Jerick McKinnon immediately motioned to the sideline for urgent medical attention.
Ultimately, Smith-Schuster walked off the field under his own power before being helped to the locker room. And while the play initially drew a penalty flag, the officials decided to pick it up, much to the consternation of the Chiefs. Smith-Schuster was soon ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Reacts to the Hit
In the aftermath of the play, Chris Nowinski, founding CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation, called for prayers for Smith-Schuster.
“Straight arms is the ‘fencing response.’ Means he was unconscious & deep parts of his brain are injured. He cannot return per protocol & for his sake I hope they give him multiple weeks to recover,” tweeted Nowinski.
As to why the penalty flag was picked up, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said “the officials explained to him it was a ‘shoulder to shoulder’ hit on the play,” according to Herbie Teope, Chiefs beat reporter for the Kansas City Star.
“Guys don’t get hit in the shoulder and lay around like that. That’s what I tried to relay to the officials,” added Reid, via Charles Goldman of USA Today’s Chiefs Wire.
Likewise, Chiefs wide receiver Kadarius Toney was unequivocal when describing his reaction to the blow, telling Rob Collins of Fox4 Kansas City: “That was illegal, that was illegal.”
“I don’t like dirty play, but it kind of gave us a boost,” he added.
Patrick Mahomes Describes JuJu Smith-Schuster as ‘His Normal Self’ Postgame
If there’s any good news, Smith-Schuster appears to be feeling better.
According to Aaron Ladd of NBC-TV’s Kansas City affiliate, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes described Smith-Schuster as being “his normal self” after the game.
Coming into Sunday’s contest, Smith-Schuster had 44 receptions for 582 yards and two touchdowns in 2022. He caught two passes for 33 yards on four targets against the Jaguars.
The Steelers selected Smith-Schuster in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL draft out of USC. He spent five seasons in Pittsburgh before signing a one-year contract with the Chiefs in March 2022. He missed most of his final season with the Steelers after suffering a dislocated shoulder in October 2021 against the Denver Broncos, an injury that required surgery.
To date, Smith-Schuster has played in 72 career regular-season games and has been credited with 369 receptions for 4,470 yards and 28 receiving touchdowns. In 2023 he will become an unrestricted free agent for the third offseason in a row.