Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster shades Steelers after Chiefs practice

Former Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster seemed to take a shot at his former team after the ‘hardest practice of his career’ with the Chiefs.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took to Twitter on Monday night to share with fans how things are going so far at his first training camp with his new team.

And while complimenting Kansas City and head coach Andy Reid for putting in the work, he also seemingly took a shot at his former employer, the Pittsburgh Steelers, as he called it the “hardest practice of [his] NFL career”.

The five-year veteran apparently never worked as hard in his time as a Pittsburgh Steeler as he has in his first official week as a member of the Chiefs. It should come as no surprise, though, given the scheme that Reid deploys in Kansas City. It is likely that Smith-Schuster will be shouldering the greatest responsibility that he has yet to face throughout his career in the upcoming season, as he is working out in a variety of roles at Chiefs training camp.

Playing in Pittsburgh, Smith-Schuster was primarily run out of the slot and for good reason. In the best statistical season of his career (2018) when he made his lone Pro Bowl appearance, he was a complimentary weapon to Antonio Brown, who was selected as first-team All-Pro that same year.

He had 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns that season, with the majority of his production coming from routes on the inside. Even while he has excelled as a threat from the slot, he’s been perpetually competing for touches against the Steelers scheme.

JuJu Smith-Schuster should play much bigger role in Chiefs offense

Le’Veon Bell, James Conner, and Najee Harris were the running backs that Smith-Schuster played with while in Pittsburgh. Each demanded a healthy amount of touches in their respective peaks with the Steelers, and there were three Pro Bowl selections among them in the five years that Smith-Schuster was on the Steelers roster. Last season, Harris received 307 touches out of the backfield, and although JuJu was hurt for most of last year, Harris’s contribution to the offense was inevitable.

Now in Kansas City, Smith-Schuster will have a chance at being a more legitimate cornerstone of the Chiefs offense — one that tends to regularly favor the pass over the rush. Many more high-speed, exhausting practices lie ahead, and it will be interesting to track the Chiefs’ new receiver’s development in this offense as we near the regular season kickoff.

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