Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster certainly produced several memorable moments during his 2017 rookie season both on and off the field. While the USC product and the team’s 2017 second-round selection garnered plenty attention in 2017 for his entertaining end zone celebrations and stolen bicycle escapades, his fourth quarter, Week 13 block of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is what probably endeared him the most to fans of the Steelers. At the very least, that block that started with Burfict being completely knocked off his feet and ending with Smith-Schuster standing over him, has likely saved the young Steelers wide receiver quite a bit of dining out money ever since.
During a recent interview with Master Tesfatsion of Bleacher Report, Smith Schuster was asked about his block last season on Burfict and how he’s since posted several memes and gifs of it on his social media accounts.
“I’m not even the one making those. The fans are doing those,” Smith-Schuster said. “I didn’t know how big it was to take Burfict out like that. After that hit, I don’t have to pay for anything. When I go to bars, I don’t have to pay for drinks or anything. “Yo, we appreciate what you did,” and stuff like that. I remember my last week here [during the season], I didn’t have to pay for no meals. I went out to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day and didn’t have to pay for nothing.”
While Smith-Schuster’s devastating block on Burfict was certainly entertaining to most fans of the Steelers, the officials on the field at the time weren’t as amused or impressed as the then-rookie wide receiver was flagged for not only an illegal blindside block, but taunting as well. A few days later the league let Smith-Schuster know that they weren’t impressed with his block of Burfict as they issued him a one-game suspension. While Smith-Schuster did appeal his punishment, it wound up being a fruitless effort and he ultimately lost a game check.
While many consider Burfict being on the receiving end of Smith-Schuster’s devastating block merely karma for his several past transgressions, you have to think the Bengals linebacker will certainly remember which player it was that flattened him and ultimately forced him to miss the next two games with a concussion. While Burfict is currently scheduled to miss the Bengals first four regular season games of 2018 due to yet another suspension, the linebacker should be reinstated in plenty of time to participate in his team’s Week 6 home game against the Steelers. According to Smith-Schuster, he’s well-aware of the fact that Burfict might very well have payback on his mind in the middle of October.
“It’s going to be crazy. I’ve gotta keep my head on a swivel,” Smith-Schuster told Tesfatsion. “He’s a savage.”