His 1,426 yards in 2018 made him a fan favorite and helped the team move on from Antonio Brown.
But his production started to dip and Smith-Schuster rejoined the Steelers this year on a one-year deal.
Unfortunately, he is now out for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
That could end his Steelers tenure and leaves his NFL future up in the air.
Preparing for a season and then suffering an injury has to take an emotional toll on any player.
Smith-Schuster recently opened up at a charity event about how the injury news affected him.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2021
Opening up and explaining how he cried all night upon getting the season-ending news sheds light into the life of an NFL player and the emotions of the game.
A Career Crossroad
The receiver signed a one-year deal with the Steelers this past offseason instead of landing a long-term deal.
At this point, he is not able to do anything more in 2021 to prove he deserves a lucrative long-term contract from any team next offseason.
That also has to add to his frustration.
Ben Roethlisberger on JuJu Smith-Schuster injury-“It’s awful. I will speak selfishly. I’m hurt because I miss that guy. What he brings to this team. His energy. His excitement. The leadership. It sucks, it really does.”
— 93.7 The Fan (@937theFan) October 13, 2021
The good news for the receiver is that he is still only 24 years old and plenty of teams out there may want to take a chance on a player who looked so great just a few years ago.
When his production did dip, Ben Roethlisberger was either injured for the year or showing major signs of decline.
There is a lot pointing in the receiver’s favor in terms of fair excuses.
But a likely scenario remains him and the Steelers moving on from each other.
He was not given a multi-year commitment by the team and there is no reason to expect one would come after this injury.
If Smith-Schuster never suits up for the team again, he will leave on much better terms than someone like Brown.
Showing the emotion he did proves just how much he cares and that says a lot about his true character, TikTok dances aside.