At this point, it may be as likely that JuJu Smith-Schuster will be in a Cleveland Browns uniform at the start of the 2021 season as it is that he will be in one for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The four-year veteran is slated to be a free agent in March, and will be near the top of the market at the wide receiver position, which will be rather hard for Pittsburgh to swing.
If he does end up in Cleveland, then he’ll already show up with one regret—and that is failing to trademark his quickly-infamous “the Browns is the Browns” line, a remark that he made during a media interview heading into the two teams’ postseason game that served as a rallying cry for the self-same team.
Smith-Schuster was specifically asked whether or not he felt that the Browns team they were about to face were a better team than the one that he had faced earlier in his career. In attempting to invoke head coach Mike Tomlin’s ‘nameless, gray faces’ spiel when referring to opponents, he delivered that final line, which served as the money quote that made the rounds.
Appearing on The Doug Gottlieb Show earlier today, he was asked about this remark and whether or not he regretted making it and wanted to take it back after he said it. “It’s not that I wanted it back”, he said. “I think what I said is what I said, and the media sort of took it how they wanted to use it”.
“After the game we played, we fell short and we lost, but what I said is what I said”, he went on. “I’m not gonna change it back. They got a billboard out in Cleveland just because of me. I should’ve trademarked the thing cuz I could’ve got some money off of it”.
— Steelers Depot 🎄 (@Steelersdepot) February 2, 2021
Smith-Schuster, of course, is very conscious of business matters, and promoting his brand, something that many fans have become very frustrated with as it concerns him and his dedication to the game, and to the team—rightly or wrongly. But it will frame everything he says, especially because he is so emphatic about it.
“That was just off the top of my head”, he said of the remark. “It wasn’t something I was thinking about. When he first asked me the question, like, ‘oh, what do you think about the Browns this week’, I was like, well, we just played against the Brown, the Browns are the Browns, we play against them twice a year. I’ve been in the NFL for four years and we’ve played against this team so many times, it’s just like, okay, the Browns are the Browns”.
The Browns are the Browns, but now they are positioning themselves to be one of the top teams in the AFC North going forward, perhaps even one of the top teams in the conference. Meanwhile, the Steelers appear to be headed in the opposite direction. If you can’t beat them—and if you can’t join them—then you might as well get a trademark out of it, I suppose.