JuJu Smith-Schuster has a new sponsorship with Charmin—yes, the toilet paper manufacturer—that has him doing a media tour right now. He’s promoting an AI product that provides streamers a virtual avatar, with the implication being that fans can interact with a personality’s avatar while streaming—while the streamer is off-camera, using Charmin’s flagship product for its intended purpose, if you know what I mean.
So that’s why he’s going on all of these shows doing interviews right now. And we’re writing about what he’s saying because he’s a very prominent Steelers player who is saying things, and we are a Steelers website that writes about things that prominent Steelers players say. I hope that clears up why this article exists, since the question will inevitably arise in the comments.
And the media blitz just happened to coincide with his former teammate, Alejandro Villanueva, signing with the Baltimore Ravens, and taking a playful shot at him during his introductory Zoom press conference, saying with a wry smile that wide receivers on TikTok may not be as happy with the Ravens’ run-first approach as linemen are. Naturally, Smith-Schuster was asked about Villanueva’s comments and how he received them, most notably while appearing on Adam Schefter’s podcast on ESPN.
“At the end of the day, for myself, I stayed in Pittsburgh because I was already built in the system. As far as Al, he had an opportunity to play in Baltimore, and he sees that Baltimore runs the ball more than they throw it, and in Pittsburgh we throw it more than we run it”, he said. “It’s just a known fact. For him, he prefers to have a balanced offense where they’re more run-heavy than passing”.
“As far as the TikToks, I’ve done TikToks with Al”, Smith-Schuster added, something that we’ve documented. “It’s all on social media. It’s not like a hidden gem. You still the TikToks. He’s been in Chase [Claypool]’s TikToks, he’s been in my TikTok. At the end of the day, he’s a good dude, and he’ll never change. I don’t ever see him throwing shade at me, ever, so I’m totally fine with what he said”.
Those less familiar with Villanueva and his personality took his comments at face value. Perhaps others were reading what they wanted to read into it. They didn’t like the TikTok videos, so they transposed those feelings onto Villanueva as a cypher.
But all indications point to his having some fun with people he considers friends, people he has known for four-plus years and has had a good working relationship with. He even joked that Kevin Zeitler would be an “upgrade” over David DeCastro as a commuting buddy.
It seems that the more familiar people are with Villanueva’s personality and how he speaks to the media, especially in more informal settings such as radio interviews, the more clear it is that this was a completely manufactured, non-existent controversy. That’s how the man himself, Smith-Schuster, took it, as well. Though we’re still waiting to hear from DeCastro. I’m sure he’s still too hurt to respond.