Former Pittsburgh Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster will be getting a chance to play in his first ever Super Bowl this Sunday, just two weeks after he suffered an injury that looked like it would put him in doubt to play. However, him being available for the biggest game of the season is no surprise to his former teammate T.J. Watt.
Watt joined Peter King today and talked about how good of a teammate Smith-Schuster way in his five years in Pittsburgh.
“I have all the respect in the world for JuJu, especially as a football player and as a teammate,” Watt said. “I know a lot of people always see the viral videos and the TikToks, but the guy loves football. He loves his teammates, he works hard. And guys are always putting their bodies on the line. And I feel like sometimes people don’t realize how hard a full NFL season is on your body. And like you were saying about JuJu, putting him back together, quote unquote, he’s gonna do whatever it is possibly takes to be as healthy as possible, not just for himself, but for his team to put them in the best position to win the game.”
A great example of Smith-Schuster doing what is best for the team is fighting to come back from injury early to help the Steelers try and beat the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Wild Card Round in the 2021 season after suffering what should have been a season ending shoulder injury in Week Five.
A game the Steelers had virtually no chance to win Smith-Schuster who was a pending free agent put his injured body on the line to help the Steelers. While very respectable and courageous, it in unfortunately did not help a bad Steelers team who lost 42-21.
Smith-Schuster got a bad rap in Pittsburgh due to the TikTok’s he made during the 2020 season that included him dancing on other teams logos. While it hindsight he probably shouldn’t have done it, people made it a way bigger deal than it had to be. Smith-Schuster genuinely just enjoys playing football, which Watt told King he loves to see because at the end of the day NFL players are getting paid a lot to play a game they dreamed about playing professionally as kids.
“Yeah, I mean, like I said, you only have so much time to play this game and sometimes you have to remind yourself that, ‘Hey, I am living the dream. I’m getting paid handsomely to play a game that if I was a child I would be the happiest in the world that I’m doing what I’m doing.’ And so many people would give their left arm to be playing in the National Football League, to be playing these big-time games and be doing what you love for a living. And that’s why it’s so fun to see guys that understand that and appreciate that and love to practice, love to grind and stuff like that is contagious in a building. And I think that’s what you see with JuJu.”
Other than Antonio Brown, not one teammate of Smith-Schuster’s has ever talked bad about him. Seeing him have a chance to win a Super Bowl is super exciting and he truly deserves it. After the last few seasons battling injury and bad quarterback play, Smith-Schuster proved he is a talented receiver posting 78 catches for 933 yards and three touchdowns with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback.
These stats will help Smith-Schuster see a nice contract in free agency. Many Steelers fans will likely want their former wide receiver back as he would fill a need at slot receiver, but that probably won’t happen. Maybe one day Smith-Schuster will don the Black and Gold again, but for now he is onto another chapter in his NFL career, one that may see him hoist the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday.