The Pittsburgh Steelers offense finally came to life Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
So why is JuJu Smith-Schuster the main player in the news today?
Steelers fans got some bad news Monday as the vibrant receiver is now out for the season.
Sources: #Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had surgery last night on his injured shoulder and is out for the season. The procedure was successful. A tough loss for a Pittsburgh offense that is showing signs of hitting its stride.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
That is quite the alert to come out the afternoon right after a game.
He finished the day with one target, no catches, and two runs before leaving for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury.
A Brutal Injury For The Offense
The Steelers offense had a terrible first four weeks of the season and looked like their normal selves in Week 5.
However, one fair note is that this all came without the contributions of Smith-Schuster.
So it’s not like he himself was the reason they won the game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster did not have shoulder surgery last night, per source. Injury still appears severe and could very well be season-ending, but the Steelers wide receiver did not undergo surgery Sunday night.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) October 11, 2021
Still, he is a key piece in the offense and that is a tough blow just when things were starting to go in the right direction.
Another problem too is the fact this position group has already been hit hard with injuries in 2021.
Claypool had a big day Sunday, but has not been available every game.
When healthy, it will be Claypool and Diontae Johnson as the top targets for Roethlisberger.
Harris is also heavily involved in the passing game and seems to be getting better with each passing week.
A Potential Farewell
The Steelers did not commit to Smith-Schuster on a long-term deal, instead signing him back on a one-year contract.
This injury could mean his Steelers tenure ends on a sour note.
If that is the case, his Steelers career would end with a lot of hype, but declining performance.
The former second-round pick had 917 yards as a rookie and broke out with a total of 1,426 in 2018.
He never finished with more than 831 in the following three years, which includes 2021.
The Steelers seem to be content with Claypool as the top target, and rightfully so.
Johnson has also stepped up and receiver can once again be a position of need in the 2022 draft.
Because while Harris is a threat, injuries in the receiving corps leaves the unit lacking depth.
If this Sunday was JuJu’s final game with the Steelers, fans will have mixed memories of his time there.
Some will remember his big season and his eccentric play.
However, others will see him as a distraction who wore out his welcome too fast.