JuJu Smith-Schuster is thrilled he didn’t leave the Steelers fanbase in the dust like some Pittsburgh legends past.
Smith-Schuster had offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, but chose to stay in Pittsburgh instead for less money. He was even linked to the Green Bay Packers at one time.
The Steelers won out because they’re the only organization Smith-Schuster has ever known. If he had to sign a prove-it deal (which he did), then the USC product would rather bet on himself in a system he’s familiar with, and a quarterback he loves playing with.
Steelers fans are a loyal bunch. They understand players often don’t stick with one organization for the length of their careers anymore, but Pittsburgh has a love-hate relationship with former athletes depending on how they leave. In particular, where that player leaves for can determine if they’re still eligible for that free beer for life.
JuJu Smith-Schuster couldn’t sign with Ravens
Smith-Schuster compared his situation to that of James Harrison, who signed with the New England Patriots — a noted Steelers rival — after being cut by Pittsburgh in 2017.
While JuJu likely didn’t mean to take an obvious shot at Harrison, it’s easily framed that way. He’s insinuating that Harrison is still hated by Steelers faithful, which is at least partially true. Even though Harrison played 13 seasons in Pittsburgh, fans won’t forget how that relationship ended.
It sure didn’t help that Harrison took some parting shots at the Steelers on his way out.
Smith-Schuster will enter the 2021 season as the Steelers top receiving option, along with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. With Roethlisberger back in the fold, expect a solid campaign from the 24-year-old.