JuJu Smith-Schuster had one of the most successful rookie seasons in Pittsburgh Steelers history. A lot of that can be attributed to his own maturity, work ethic, and skillset. But according to JuJu, Ben Roethlisberger gets a mighty big assist for helping him on and off the field.
“I think working with [Big Ben] over time builds the chemistry between receiver and quarterback,” Smith-Schuster told Missi Matthews of Steelers.com. It’s been great, He’s been great. He’s helped out a lot. I’ve learned a lot from him.”
It wasn’t just the on-field interactions either that built up that rapport. The two had locker rooms next to each other, a big moment for a rookie.
“Most definitely. I’m taking all those brownie points…I think it helps out a lot. Like I said, building chemistry not just on the field but off the field.”
It’s probably fair to argue there aren’t two more different personalities on the team than Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster. Roethlisberger is the oldest and longest tenured Steeler; now with the release of William Gay, by a healthy margin. Smith-Schuster came in last season as the youngest player in the league and at only 21 years old, it’s still possible he remains the youngest Steeler even after this years draft class.
JuJu has a massive social media presence. A Youtube channel with over 355,000 subscribers and a Twitter following surpassing half a million. Roethlisberger doesn’t do any of that, having his accounts run by others while only occasionally sending out his own tweet. JuJu is landing at Tilted Towers in Fortnite (that’s a video game, for those over 30) while I’m positive Roethlisberger hasn’t touched a controller in a long time and has no idea what an Boogie Bomb is.
Pretty much the only things they share is football and a competitiveness to be the best at their job. But that’s definitely good enough and Smith-Schuster is a rare case of someone who quickly earned Roethlisberger’s trust. Only Antonio Brown caught more third down passes last season than JuJu.