JuJu Using Drake’s Last Words to Team as Inspiration

Steelers WR wants to see chemistry grow in third preseason game

Josh Rowntree
August 21, 2019 - 10:39 am
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster at training camp in 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - For the first time since the sudden death of Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake on Aug. 11, star wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster addressed the media Wednesday morning. 

Smith-Schuster, wearing bracelets with two memorable quotes Drake told the team during training camp, including his final words of wisdom, were written out across the bands, which Smith-Schuster had made.

“When he first walked in the room, one of the first quotes he had was ‘shut out the noise,’" Smith Schuster said. "We came into this year, with the situation that we had, and that’s what he said.

“He usually said a quote to us every day, and this is the last quote that he said to us. He said ‘never choose good when great is available.’ Obviously, that means don’t settle for less, don’t be satisfied for what you have now. When great is available, go achieve it.”

“He will always be in the memory of not only this team, but in my heart, and to everybody he touched.”

The moment of humbled emotion and seriousness is a rare sight for Smith-Schuster, often the source of comedy in the Steelers’ locker room. 

Smith-Schuster has been, arguably, the team’s most impressive player since the preseason began. It has been needed with the losses of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.

“Obviously all eyes are on me,” he said. “The biggest question is how the Steelers are going to be without the two great players we used to have and how JuJu is going to do without (Brown).

“For myself, I’m just focusing on what I have going on with my teammates and what we have going on here. It’s pretty cool. I feel like we’re closer than ever, so it’s awesome.”

Despite being just 22 years old, Smith-Schuster is the most accomplished receiver on the team already. Pittsburgh did bring in a sixth-year veteran in Donte Moncrief to help provide playmaking ability and more experience to the receivers room. 

“I’m still myself and I will never change that,” Smith-Schuster said. “Obviously I’ve become more vocal in our receiver room. Usually you go off of age, which I think is totally fine because everybody in my room is a leader, everyone’s vocal, everyone can talk and speak up. When you have the amount of years, playing on this team, the most experience, I fall in that category.”

Smith-Schuster played briefly in Pittsburgh’s 17-7 preseason win over the Chiefs Saturday. He did not play in the preseason opener the week prior. Week three, however, should see him on the field more, with a chance to develop more chemistry with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is expected to play some.

There are some things Smith-Schuster wants to figure out in what will likely be the last time her plays in a game before Pittsburgh’s Sept. 8 opener at New England.

“Just see how our chemistry works,” said Smith-Schuster, who is unaware of how much the starters will play. 

“Playing all together with the (first team). Every day we practice hard. To have (Roethlisberger) out there, our starting offensive line, receivers, running backs and tight ends, and just seeing how we are, how we progress.”

Hear more below from Smith-Schuster, including his thoughts on Pittsburgh’s young receivers, the backup quarterback battle, and more.

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