Steelers News

JuJu Smith-Schuster Named Steelers’ Joe Greene Award Winner As Team’s Top Rookie Of 2017

The votes are now in and tabulated and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is this year’s recipient of the “Joe Greene Great Performance Award”, presented annually by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America for him being voted the team’s top rookie in 2017.

Smith-Schuster, who was drafted in the second-round this year by the Steelers out of USC, enters the final week of the 2017 regular season with 49 receptions for 774 yards and 6 touchdowns in 651 total offensive snaps played. The rookie wide receiver also returned 7 kickoffs for 118 yards this season.

In the Steelers win this past Monday against the Houston Texans, Smith-Schuster caught 6 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown. The NFL’s youngest player also now owns the Steelers all-time record for the ,longest touchdown reception thanks to his 97-yard catch and run in the team’s Week 8 win over the Detroit Lions.

Not only did Smith-Schuster entertain with his play this season, he also did the same following scores not only by him, but by his teammates as well. From mock snowball fights to hide-and-seek, to recreating his taunting of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, he certainly was a creative celebration choreographer.

That block and ultimately taunting of Burfict resulted in Smith-Schuster being suspended for one game, however, and the wide receiver also missed one other game due to a hamstring injury. While that block of Burfict was deemed illegal in the eyes of the NFL, several other blocks that he made during the season were very much within the rules and you can’t recap his rookie season without mentioning how physical of a player he proved himself to be in the NFL just as he was in college.

“Once he is in there his ability in the run game, specifically in the sub-run game where you need a big body in there to block bigger defenders, he has shown a great willingness to block with great pride,” Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley said recently of Smith-Schuster. “We grew that in to some of these cracks and outside tosses we are running, where we are putting him on defensive ends. He is doing a very good job in the run game and raised the bar. On top of that, because of his intelligence, he is able to play multiple positions from play-to-play and he has consistently made plays when opportunities have popped up.”

Smith-Schuster obviously beat out Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt for the annual Rookie of the Year award. Watt, the Steelers first-round draft pick this year out of Wisconsin, still had a very successful rookie season as he registered 44 total tackles, 6 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in the 705 total defensive snaps that he played.

This now marks the second year in a row that a second-round draft pick has been named the Steelers top rookie as safety Sean Davis was the team’s 2016 recipient. Martavis Bryant was the last Steelers wide receiver to win the award.

Joe Greene Great Performance Award” Winners:
1984 WR Louis Lipps
1985 P Harry Newsome
1986 LB Anthony Henton
1987 CB Delton Hall
1988 RB Warren Williams
1989 SS Carnell Lake
1990 TE Eric Green
1991 TE Adrian Cooper
1992 FS Darren Perry
1993 LB Chad Brown
1994 RB Bam Morris
1995 QB Kordell Stewart
1996 FB Jon Witman
1997 CB Chad Scott
1998 OG Alan Faneca
1999 WR Troy Edwards
2000 FB Dan Kreider
2001 LB Kendrell Bell
2002 OG Kendall Simmons
2003 S Troy Polamalu
2004 QB Ben Roethlisberger
2005 TE Heath Miller
2006 WR Santonio Holmes
2007 P Daniel Sepulveda
2008 LB Patrick Bailey
2009 WR Mike Wallace
2010 C Maurkice Pouncey
2011 OT Marcus Gilbert
2012 OT Mike Adams
2013 RB Le’Veon Bell
2014 WR Martavis Bryant
2015 LB Bud Dupree
2016 S Sean Davis
2016 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
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