JuJu Smith-Schuster Sends Heartfelt Message to Ben Roethlisberger

Getty JuJu Smith-Schuster is congratulated by Ben Roethlisberger after catching a TD pass.

on the eve of what is believed to be Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster posted a heartfelt message on Twitter to his quarterback:

“If tonight is the last ride at home, I have to say thank you to one of the best QBs in NFL history for welcoming me into this league, helping me grow, and being there for me in every step of my career. It’s been an honor to catch passes and take the field with you.

Thank you, 7!”

Sadly, Smith-Schuster didn’t get to spend very long with Roethlisberger this season. The fifth-year wide receiver injured his shoulder in Week 5 and landed on injured reserve.

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“You can’t replace JuJu,” Roethlisberger said in an October 13 press conference. “It’s awful. I’ll speak selfishly. I’m hurt because I miss that guy, what he brings to this team, his energy, his excitement, the leadership.”

“It sucks. It really does. And I’m not even the one hurt. I spoke to him on Sunday night, and I felt his pain through the phone. Spoke to his mom as well. Sometimes things aren’t fair, and we don’t know why they happen. A guy that has given so much and a guy that means so much to this team to me, specifically…It’s just not fair.”

JuJu Stayed for Big Ben

Ironically, a big reason for Smith-Schuster staying home was Big Ben. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, on March 5, 2021, the day after the Steelers offered Roethlisberger a new contract, Smith-Schuster posted to Instagram, “Now let’s talk.”

Smith-Schuster, 25, was popular in NFL free agency this offseason. He turned down more lucrative offers from other teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs and division rival Baltimore Ravens to return to Pittsburgh on a one-year prove-it deal.

Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, in a June 9 press conference, Smith-Schuster said, “Patrick Mahomes is a great QB, and he will be for the next decade, but I think it’s a loyalty to my coaches and my quarterback.”

Smith-Schuster added that the fans would’ve never forgiven him had he skipped out on Pittsburgh to the hated Ravens.

“I’m looking at the bigger picture, going into next year. I already knew if I went to the Ravens, fans would’ve destroyed me,” said Smith-Schuster. “Going to the Chiefs, they have a great offense, playing with Tyreek [Hill] and Travis [Kelce], but I’ve got to do what’s best for me. That’s staying home.”

JuJu’s Future in Pittsburgh

When Smith-Schuster’s contract with Pittsburgh expires in March, one of two things will happen: He’ll leave to go to another team, or the Steelers will re-sign him to a similar one-year deal.

Unfortunately, Smith-Schuster lost some leverage on the free-agent market due to his injury. It could be in his best interest — should Pittsburgh feel the same — to audition for teams that could need his services in 2023.

However, with Ben Roethlisberger out of the mix, Smith-Schuster may want a fresh start with a new team and a new quarterback.

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