Rookie Smith-Schuster A Breath Of Young Fresh Air In Steelers Drama-Filled Season

With all the drama that seems to be attached to the Pittsburgh Steelers the last several weeks at least one young player on the team doesn’t seem to be caught up in any of it. That player is rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the team’s second-round draft pick this year out of USC.

Smith-Schuster has been a breath of fresh air for the Steelers this season as the young wide receiver just goes out and plays football every week. Currently the youngest player in the NFL at 20 years old, Smith-Schuster seems like he’s just glad to be contributing player in the NFL right now and one that doesn’t take it for granted.

In the Steelers Sunday home win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Smith-Schuster caught just two passes for 39 yards with one of those receptions resulting in a 31-yard touchdown. That touchdown, by the way, was his third of the season and that’s now the most scores in NFL history by a player before his 21st birthday.

If you’re one of those fans who hates post-touchdown celebrations, you still probably cracked a little smile when Smith-Schuster played a quick game of hide and seek with running back Le’Veon Bell while the two players were still in the end zone following the rookie’s scoring reception. It didn’t result in a penalty, it didn’t disrespect the Bengals and it showed just how youthful Smith-Schuster still is.

Smith-Schuster’s second catch in Sunday’s win over the Bengals might show on the stat sheet but what he did after making the reception doesn’t.

With 48 seconds left in the first half, the Steelers offense faced a 1st and 10 from their own 39-yard-line. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger then proceeded to connect with Smith-Schuster on a short pass over the middle as the wide receiver was running a crossing route. After making the catch, it looked like Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard was going to tackle Smith-Schuster quickly and had that had happened the Steelers would have probably either had to use their final timeout of the half or quickly get up to the line of scrimmage and spike the football to conserve time.

Instead, Smith-Schuster was able to break away from Dennard’s tackle attempt and get safely out of bounds which in turned stopped the clock. Oh, he also gained 9 yards on the play as well. The Steelers offense eventually drove down for a field goal to close out the first half.

While he might still be a kid at heart, Smith-Schuster seems to be handling all the recent team drama very well and much like a grizzled veteran would. There’s no better example of that than what he said to the media on Monday just hours after fellow wide receiver Martavis Bryant disrespected him on his Instagram account. Smith Schuster reportedly said he talked Monday with Bryant about his Instagram post and indicated there are no hard feelings between the two players and that he understands his teammate’s frustration.

“I’m totally fine,” he said, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Me and Martavis are totally cool. Ever since I got here from the beginning, we’re close friends. We all want the ball. It’s hard.”

How great of is that for him to take such a high road?

It’s easy to see why Smith-Schuster has quickly become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh and here’s to hoping his future actions both on and off the field mimic is current ones as he grows older.

  • Rob

    Impossible not to like JJSS

  • The Tony

    It is really great to see everyone who was upset with the second round pick of JuJu have to eat crow.

  • nutty32

    Thought the hide-n-seek celebration was a bit cringe worthy, corny. Hope the next one is better.

  • Kick

    Do you think Martavis will make it the year?

  • JT

    Quickly becoming one of my favorites, on and off the field.

  • CP72

    Holds hand up….in my defense I didn’t know at the time we would end up with Haden. Well I guess they didn’t either.

  • The Tony

    Nor did we know that MB would be this disappointing

  • CP72

    I am not a fan of these, but I thought that was creative.

    Makes me nervous when the ref is setting there watching you with one hand on the flag.

  • 20Stoney

    I don’t see them letting him force his way out of town. I do see them suspending him to remove the distraction though.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    JuJu is genuinely excited about being professional Football player and it shows in his actions, in his play, and definitely in his interactions with his teammates! I for one am pleased that he is a Pittsburgh Steeler! 1️⃣9️⃣

  • John Noh

    I’m no USC fan but with guys like Troy and JJSS, Fight On!

  • John Noh

    OK, so they’re going to have to work out a system to stop the players from these shenanigans if they want to go for two points. The very first 2-point conversion attempt was marred by the “craps game” celebration.

  • colingrant

    The stunt represented his youthful exuberance.

  • Lil Smitty

    Seeing JJSS run out of bounds, showed me he might be one of best above the shoulders WR we have on the team. AB is extremely talented physically, but he still makes silly gaffes and will run out of bounds when trying to use up the clock or stay in bounds and fight for a few more yards on catches like JuJu’s

  • srdan

    No need to talk down AB to praise juju. Ab is as good as it gets above teh shoulders. And I have no issue with him taking less hits.

  • Bill

    Nice to see a young man perform so well but still exhibit humility. Hope he stays that way because it’s just so nice to see.
    I believe Byant’s comment about Ju Ju was coming from the frustration that he is undoubtedly feeling because this season for him is going sour. If Schuster is the man he certainly appears to be, he already knows that and in the long run will not hold it against Matavis.

  • Delboka

    These celebrations are embarrassing.

  • PaeperCup

    I will one day call this guy my favorite Steeler.

  • The trade deadline is next Tuesday. So yes, he finishes out the year here. I don’t think the team suspends him for any reason but if he continues to be disruptive maybe he’s a healthy scratch like Rogers was for a few games.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Mea Culpa on John Smith-Schuster.

    Not on his talent, because he did have back-to-back 10 TD seasons at a big school like USC. But on us seeing and knowing that we needed to add a young WR to that seemingly stacked room. Mea Culpa.

    To be fair, how could any of us know that Sammie Coates would be a Brown, Eli Rogers would sleep with fleas, Justin Hunter would wear out a spot on the bench, and Martavis Bryant would go Ray Finkle on us?!

    But hey, I certainly didn’t quite see the value in taking JJSS in the 2nd round. And I was wrong. He’s brought an element, a Hines-Wardian element, that was missing. I should have seen that. You should have seen that. WE ALL should have seen that. For as good as Brown, Bryant, Rogers, Hunter, (Coates) and Hey-Bey are… none of them are a Ward clone. And neither is JuJu Smith-Schuster……. Y E T.

  • Darth Blount 47

    I’m currently enjoying mine with a side of grilled asparagus and a glass of Cabernet.

  • Darth Blount 47

    And Swannie!

  • John Noh

    But of course!

  • Taylor Williams

    Sorry, but I want AB to stay healthy.

    He can take as little hits as possible.

  • S.T.

    Darth, the Depot should hire you to write a few pieces. You’re consistently the best commenter on these boards. Kudos. Keep it up.

  • Michael

    Larry David says, Curb Your Enthusiasm on JuJu. The big catch was a blown assignment wide open by 15 yds.

  • Michael

    My hats off to your ” Ray Finkle ” comment. Brilliantly written. Thank you.

  • Michael

    It’s way premature for suspension or trade MB talk, the news broke 6 hrs ago, please let the truth or investigative journalism take form, then we proceed to Judge & Jury, ‘kay?

  • Christopher Marks

    And besides, just to follow srdan’s comment, we know from the baltimore game last year that AB will get physical on the battlefield when he knows the team needs it.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Your comment is incredibly appreciated and makes me blush.

    I’ve thought about asking Dave B. if he had a winter intern program I could enter, but I figure until I’m ready to hit the big-time, I’ll just keep plugging away down with the Plebeians and making my mark this way. I figure either way, I’m published. But generally without the rotten tomatoes that end up on the site-authors doorsteps.

    I’m pretty sure they would frown upon me liberally exercising my “block” option on the vast array of detractors and vegetable-chuckers if I were in the hierarchy. 🙂

  • JT

    I was as shocked as anybody that Juju was the pick. But the pure vitriol for the pick just goes to show how many around just love complain when things don’t go their way. Big props to you for admitting being wrong.

    Now the question is. Where do we get our next Randel El? I bet some reverse passes could help get us to that 30 ppg….

  • Bill

    C’mon guys; a little grounding here. Let’s see what time brings. A few games does not a career make.

  • RMSteeler

    Just what Ben likes….college open on the TD. MB, pull it out and watch. Play like you mean it to up your catches. Watch your old tape vs this year. If your heads out of it, I hope the Browns or Ravens offer a #1 pick. Then everyone will be happy. Until you do it with the new team.

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    He’s football smart. Something you couldn’t say about Sammie or MB.

  • ND_Steel

    Now let’s see what we have in our 3rd round picks, or at least Conner. As much as I love seeing Bell tote the rock, I can’t help but feel he won’t be there later if we don’t slow his roll now.

  • Roberto Vaquero Bazán


  • Richard Edlin

    Keeper. If he’s injury free then soon as he gets to Year 3, I hope a long extension’s on the table.

  • Richard Edlin

    Hayden’s also not been bad. For the Browns to get rid of him, I’d expected that he’d have been a liability but it does seem that the team has improved … and NYG aren’t necessarily improved by Cockrell. (Not that I wouldn’t take Ross back either though.)

  • Richard Edlin

    Especially when the post is used as a prop. Don’t quite know where the line is on that one …

  • Richard Edlin

    I was annoyed with MB when JJSS was drafted — even if he believed that Juju was Coates’ replacement, you don’t cheer for your (current) teammate losing a job. Showed immaturity and/or a lack of class, as does some of his responses now.

    There have been a few players since Troy left where their statements suggest a lot of class but their play suggests that they aren’t up to it. (Look at Shamarko, for instance.). JJSS has the chance to be a very big player, long term, for the Steelers – if “making it” at 20 doesn’t screw up your sense of self, you’re pretty sorted.

  • Richard Edlin

    In hindsight, those who complained about Holba might have had a strong point though. (How often has the undrafted Kanaday been mentioned this year?)

  • Dorian James

    I hate to pile on MB, but this goes to show you just how ignorant and immature he is. Ignorant because looking at the small amount of work Juju has put in, how can MB possibly think he’s better,immature because ………well every thing he’s done to this point

  • Dorian James

    I don’t think it was him they didn’t like, personally I’m a USC fan, and I didn’t like the pick because I thought we needed more defensive help. but I understood the pick and I knew what we were getting. I still think the defense needs help but they’re far better than I thought they would be

  • michele king

    When we drafted him I really questioned the pick at the time, but I love this guy now for a multitude of reasons!
    One more summer under Hines and watch out.

  • michele king

    and he finishes the 2018 season too.

  • michele king

    his Samoan mom and adopted dad did a great job, he’s a great guy and fully baked emotionally.
    knows what is important.