To what specific degree we don’t really know, but the relationship between Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and his former teammate, new Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, went way south ever since the former was voted the team’s 2018 MVP. During his Wednesday mandatory minicamp media session, Smith-Schuster was asked if he’s disappointed how things ended between him and Brown.
“You know, I mean, like I said, I liked him as a role model and that situation, you know, I didn’t want it to end like that,” Smith-Schuster said. “I have no hard feelings against him. Obviously, if we’re ever in the same room, I’m going to say ‘what’s up’ to him. I think hatred is a huge word to use against somebody. But, I mean, at the end of the day, you know, he’s a great player. He comes out every day, his work ethic, he worked hard. And other than that, no, I don’t have anything towards him or anything like that.”
Smith-Schuster was then immediately asked to disclose what all he’s learned from last season and how that might play into how he conducts himself moving forward.
“Yeah, as a young dude, I learned a lot,” Smith-Schuster said. “Honestly. It’s just like, you know, I always told myself, I told guys this before, I never want to be like the center of attention of like causing problems or any issues for the organization. I just try to stay positive as much as possible and showing everyone the outcome of it. And when stuff like that, you know, goes sideways, you know, I say what I say and then I back out and I leave it how it is.”
Later during his media session, Smith-Schuster was asked how he hopes to be remembered as a person outside of football and his answer was right on point, in my honest opinion.
“Honestly, to all the kids out there, honestly, I think everyone needs to know that, you know, you don’t always have to be all about football, your main sport,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think you’re able to go out, score touchdowns, make plays, make interceptions and still go out and have a good time. You know, like Youtube, do other fun stuff. You don’t have to be one-dimensional of just playing your sport.
“Nowadays, you see guys starting Youtubes and, you know, showing their personality on a more personal level. And I feel like the NFL is low-key kind of moving towards that. Like doing highlights for guys and enjoying a lot of that for them. So, basically I’m saying, you could have fun on the field and off the field and be successful on the field and off the field.”
Despite Smith-Schuster’s damaged relationship with Brown, it still sounds like the Steelers youngest wide receiver is looking forward to watching his former teammate on this year’s Hard-Knocks series as it was announced on Tuesday that the Raiders will be the team covered.
“I mean, it’s very interesting. Everybody’s talking about Hard Knocks, and you know the Raiders, and, I mean, everyone is curious how he’s [Brown] going to do and how he’s going to perform,” Smith-Schuster said. “And I, honestly, I think he is a great player. I think Derek Carr is a good quarterback. We obviously went and played there in Oakland and we saw what he was able to do. So, I’ll be super excited to see, you know, what he does, what the team does and, you know, Hard Knocks should be interesting to watch.”
It will indeed be interesting to watch, JuJu.