JuJu Planning More Touchdowns… And Celebrations

Steelers WR talks about handling 2nd season

Josh Rowntree
June 13, 2018 - 2:50 pm
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Steelers wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster broke onto the scene last season. But, so far, the second-year playmaker has been unable to see much time on the field during the team’s offseason workouts due to a knee injury.

"I feel great,” he said during Wednesday’s minicamp. "I can’t wait to come back. I’m slowly getting started with (individual position workouts) this week and that’s it."

"It is frustrating. Not being out there with my guys, I mean, everyone’s here, so it sucks.”

Smith-Schuster believes he will be able to return in time for training camp, which starts July 25. He declined to answer if any surgery or procedures were involved with the knee.  

"It’s just something that’s been bothering me over time,” he said, adding that he’s been taking mostly mental reps in practices. 

"It kinda just added up and they just let me know that I need to get it checked out, so I got it checked out."

A year ago, Smith-Schuster caught 58 passes for 917 yards and, along with a kickoff return, scored eight times. His plan is to continue growing.

"Just keep playing the same way how I’ve been playing, just very aggressive,” he said.

With Martavis Bryant traded to Oakland and Eli Rogers still unsigned after a torn ACL, Smith-Schuster will likely team up with Antonio Brown and rookie James Washington to form a solid pass catching trio.

"Obviously, we drafted James Washington, which I’m super excited about,” he said. "A guy who kind of has the same body type, can play inside and out. So, I'm super excited to see what he can do.” 

While Smith-Schuster filled multiple receiving roles, he feels his attributes make him fit best in the slot. 

"I want it, I love it,” he said of the added responsibility this year. "This is why I’m here. I love the game. So whatever they put on my shoulders, I’m going to carry it and do what I can for this team." 

But all of that is between the whistles. What makes Smith-Schuster even more compelling is his antics either after plays are over. His touchdown celebrations, along with his social media shenanigans launched him into national celebrity status. 

"Major celebrations this year,” he said. "Got to be number one in celebrations. But that’s going to come after we take care of business though." 

"If you take care of business on the field, everything will fall into place off the field. With marketing, doing appearances, doing stuff around the community and with charity. It’s awesome that we can do all that because we take care of business on the field. Pittsburgh, I love this city." 

The playoff loss to Jacksonville still lingers for Smith-Schuster, who had only three catches for five yards in the game. 

"It kind of sucked,” he said. "Even when I scored my last touchdown, I was just like whatever about it. I mean, I wanted to celebrate, but what was there to celebrate? We took the L. So, I think this upcoming year, I’m super excited to get back out there and compete.”

"My confidence is still there. I’m just super excited about this year. To be on the side of (Brown) and all those other guys, it’s going to be fun. I think last year, we were so close. But this is a franchise where you compete for a championship every year.”