JuJu Smith-Schuster’s surprising return to Pittsburgh met an unfortunately early conclusion when he dislocated his shoulder on a running play versus the Denver Broncos in October.
Smith-Schuster turning down the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs in free agency to sign a one-year contract with the Steelers was one of the stunners of the 2021 offseason.
Leading up to free agency, Smith-Schuster made it clear that he loved the Pittsburgh Steelers, the city and their fans. So, when the Steelers gave him the option to head back home to Los Angeles to rehab his shoulder or stay in Pittsburgh, he chose Pittsburgh.
“I had the option to go to rehab in LA and stay with my family, and be at USC, and not be around the team, but I made a decision for myself mentally,” Smith-Schuster told Heavy on Steelers.
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It kills Smith-Schuster not to be practicing and playing with the Steelers right now. But he shows up in other ways by being a supportive teammate at practice.
“I had surgery I think it was that Wednesday, and literally the next day I got out, I went straight to practice. I just had to be around football and my guys.”
“Me just being out there is for my own comfort still being around football, coaching the guys, and helping them out.”
The last five weeks since Smith-Schuster landed on injured reserve have been a trying time.
“It’s very sad because I love the game so much, and people probably don’t see that because all they see is the whole social media thing,” said Smith-Schuster. “If you were to ask any of my coaches I would love to trade my shoulder in to play another down this year, another play, just with my guys, and especially with Ben [Roethlisberger].”
Smith-Schuster’s Future in Pittsburgh
Though Smith-Schuster chose to stay in Pittsburgh in the present, there’s no telling where the future will take him.
The play that hurt his shoulder could be his last in the Pittsburgh Steelers uniform. Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency for the second time in his five-year career in March.
“If it comes down to hitting free agency and going back out in that realm again, and not knowing what’s coming along — I kind of just let it happen,” Smith-Schuster shared. “I try not to worry about it too much.”
But if Ben Roethlisberger returns, he could make a push for the Steelers to re-sign JuJu Smith-Schuster, like he did earlier this year. It’s rare for the organization to offer a wide receiver a third contract, but these are special circumstances. It would allow Smith-Schuster a chance to audition for other teams on a short-term contract; something injured reserve put a stop to this season.
“I love being a Steeler. I think it’s a great environment, great organization, great coaches,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’m just going to weigh my options and see what the outcome is.”
SNICKERS ‘Rookie Mistake of the Year’
JuJu Smith-Schuster loves him some SNICKERS (who doesn’t?!), so when he got the opportunity to team up with the official chocolate bar sponsor of the NFL, it was litty.
SNICKERS launched “SNICKERS Rookie Mistake of the Year” at the start of the season to help an NFL fan turn their rookie mistake into two Super Bowl 56 tickets. Making a rookie mistake is embarrassing but if it gets you and a friend to Los Angeles in February, it’s worth it.
JuJu got to break down one of the fan mistakes in a video called “Rookie Mistake Review.”
“I was able to actually watch a fan and break down their video, which is pretty funny and hilarious,” Smith-Schuster said.
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The fan made the mistake of overstacking a clothing rack in a store, then it came crashing down.
To learn more about SNICKERS Rookie Mistake of the Year or submit your own rookie mistake, visit snickersrookiemistakes.com and follow along on social using hashtag SNICKERSROOKIEMISTAKE.
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