Today’s game marks the 32nd played in his young career for third-year wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He enters the game having recorded, to date, 175 receptions for 2421 yards with 14 touchdown receptions. He needed 79 yards against the Seattle Seahawks to become the youngest player in NFL history to reach 25000 career receiving yards.
Smith-Schuster, who had six receptions for 78 yards in the loss in the season opener against the New England Patriots, entered today’s game at 22 years and 297 days old. With his fourth catch of the day in the third quarter, he surpassed Hall of Fame wide receiver Randy Moss as the youngest player to reach 2500 yards.
Moss did reach the 2500-yard mark earlier in his career, relative to games played. He surpassed that milestone in the 14th game of his second season, the 30th game of his career, with a big five-reception, 131-yard, two-touchdown performance in a 24-20 victory over the rival Green Bay Packers while he was with the Minnesota Vikings at the start of his career.
Moss, the 21st-overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, was an almost immediate starter but instant contributor for the Vikings. A big-play threat, he recorded 69 receptions for 1313 yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie, following that up in 1999 with 80 receptions for 1413 yards and 11 touchdowns.
As for Smith-Schuster, he began his career playing behind Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, even sharing the early portions of his rookie season with Eli Rogers in the slot. It wasn’t until in the second half of his rookie season that he emerged as the starter opposite Brown.
As a rookie in 2017, he recorded 58 receptions for 917 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games, having accomplished most of that prior to the age of 21. He followed that up last season with a breakout performance that earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl, catching 111 passes for 1426 yards, both of which surpasses Brown’s numbers on the season, with another seven touchdowns.
Last season, he had already become the youngest player to record 100 receptions or 2000 receiving yards to start his career—although, again, he did not accomplish either feat in the fewest number of games.
Moss was 22 years and 310 days old when he reached 2500 receiving yards, so even if he did not hit the mark today, Smith-Schuster would still have had the opportunity to edge out Moss for the youngest to hit that mark next week against the San Francisco 49ers.