Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is now back with the team after serving his one-week suspension for his illegal block on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict a few weeks ago and the rookie was very popular figure with the media on Wednesday.
JuJu Smith-Schuster maintains his one-game suspension won’t affect the way he plays the game. pic.twitter.com/sRXW2JOpMj
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 13, 2017
Despite him being sat down for a week for his hit on Burfict, Smith-Schuster said Wednesday that he will still continue to be the same kind of physical player he’s been throughout his entire career.
“I am still playing physical,” Smith-Schuster said. “That’s not gonna stop my game. And that’s how I’ve always been, since I was a kid. Keep moving forward, I am still going to make those blocks. Yes, I am going to be more careful. I’m going to aim for the shoulder and lower, and just be more protective of the game.”
Smith-Schuster was later asked if the Steelers past history with Burfict was in his head when he lined up the Bengals linebacker for the crushing block a week ago Monday night.
“Nah, nah, it was just like this is a Bengals player, let me go ahead and make this block for Le’Veon [Bell]. Until I stood over him after I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s Burfict,'” Smith-Schuster said he thought to himself. “And I looked at him and I was like, ‘Oh, damn.’ So, that’s when I realized, ‘Oh, man, here we go.'”
While Smith-Schuster said Wednesday he thought he had a chance at having his one-game suspension overturned via his appeal, that unfortunately didn’t happen.
“Obviously it didn’t go my way,” he said Wednesday while continuing to say he regrets taunting Burfict by standing over him after he blocked him to the ground.
“That’s not me,” Smith-Schuster said.
Since Smith-Schuster made his block on Burfict, fellow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown said he would pay whatever fine the rookie wide receiver ultimately received. Brown, however, has apparently yet to follow through with that promise, according to what Smith-Schuster said on Wednesday.
“He still owes me for my fine,” said Smith-Schuster, who as a result of his one-game suspension lost 1/17th of his 2017 base salary of $465,000, or $27,352. “I’m going to try to get him [Wednesday].”
As for the Steelers upcoming game against New England Patriots, Smith-Schuster said he’s excited about playing them for the first time in his first game back following his suspension.
“I’m very excited,” Smith-Schuster said about playing the Patriots. “It’s an honor, it’s a blessing. I mean, me being young, I was always a fan of [Tom] Brady, Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], all those guys. To now have an opportunity to be back and play against them and now I’m playing with my guys.”