A couple of years ago, it seemed like JuJu Smith-Schuster was ready to take Antonio Brown's torch and become one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense as their primary weapon.
Needless to say, that hasn't been the case thus far. Smith-Schuster has been pedestrian at best as their first option, and he's made more noise outside of the gridiron for his comments and social media activity than for his actual play.
Last season was tough for him. From the 'Corvette Corvette' fiasco and dancing on top of his rivals' logo to his controversial 'The Browns is the Browns' comments on the Cleveland Browns before losing to them in the playoffs.
JuJu Smith-Schuster Acknowledges His Comments On The Browns Motivated Them
Smith-Schuster said that even though Cleveland had a much-improved team last year, they'd still were going to be 'just the Browns'. Now, months after their tough loss to them, he finally admitted that those comments didn't age well:
“I’m not going to lie to you. It got to a point where the Cleveland Browns had a billboard up in Cleveland that said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ I think by me saying that, it says that a lot of people care about what I say. (...) At the end of the day, I said what I said. I don’t take anything back. They did come out there, they did whoop our ass. It is what it is. We lost that game. We lost early in that game in the first five, 10 minutes. We still fought. I’ll tell you one thing about our team, we still fought to the end. It wasn’t good enough. I just know the AFC North [is] just probably the hardest (...) division right now to win in. Guys like Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, and Ben. I think every team is getting to the point where it’s like, ‘Man, they’re really good.’ It is what it is," Smith-Schuster said.
Against all odds, Smith-Schuster actually turned downs bigger offers from other teams to come back to the Steelers. Now, he'll have to silence his critics and those who question his commitment and toughness.