Steelers Players Reveal What They Are Thankful for This Thanksgiving

JuJu Smith-Schuster

Michael Reaves/Getty Images JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts during the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field on November 22, 2020.

Thanks to the last-minute postponement of their Thanksgiving Day showdown vs. the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers players had the day off on Thursday. While they were more than a little upset about the game being postponed, they weren’t shy about sharing some of the things they are thankful for at the moment.

Most notably, perhaps, injured Steelers offensive tackle Zach Banner took the opportunity to offer thanks to his parents, and to provide an update on his recovery from the knee injury he suffered during the season-opener against the New York Giants.

He noted that he is “two weeks into walking without a brace” and that he did a three-mile walk with his parents to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Steelers wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud III said he is thankful for the Steelers “picking him up off the street” and for “believing” in him.

Cornerback Joe Haden said he’s “thankful for all his teammates,” and second-year wide receiver Diontae Johnson is thankful for his teammates and his family.

Rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith said he has “much to be thankful for on this amazing day,” and encouraged everyone to stay safe and “cherish every moment with friends and family.”

Steelers Helping Out Others on Thanksgiving

Meanwhile, several Steelers—and former Steelers—took the time to help others on Thanksgiving. As noted by, the team and the NFL worked with the United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania to provide boxes of food for 75 families in Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood neighborhood.

According to the team’s official web site, the food boxes helped Center of Life supplement its annual turkey giveaway, something former Steelers running back Franco Harris has been involved with over the years.

Recipients also enjoyed an added treat—a Zoom call with former Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier and actor Joe Manganiello, the latter of whom is a Pittsburgh native.

It’s been an exciting week for Shazier, who launched the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation on Tuesday. The new non-profit has made it its mission to “change how people view spinal injuries” while providing financial and emotional support to people who have incurred spinal cord injuries.

JuJu Smith-Schuster Delivered Meals to the Elderly

Meanwhile, fourth-year Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster spent his unexpected day off delivering meals to seniors, this according to JoAnne Harrop, writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Smith-Schuster said “game or no game, he was going to come out and deliver meals,” adding “it has always been a passion in [his] heart to give back….”

According to Harrop, Smith-Schuster “gathered with volunteers Thursday morning at Dive Bar & Grille on Pittsburgh’s South Side.” Their mission? To deliver 200 pounds of turkey, 80 pounds of vegetables and 40 pounds of stuffing, which added up to 350 home-cooked meals. Smith-Schuster went on to make “several stops”—in Oakland, South Side and Mt. Oliver.

The effort was a joint undertaking of Dive Bar & Grille, ACORx Pharmacy, Ten Four Social (a Pittsburgh-based social media marketing agency) and the JuJu Foundation, Smith-Schuster’s non-profit organization, which is “dedicated to the support of youth initiatives and lifting the spirits of those in need.”

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