JuJu Smith-Schuster steps into the spotlight for 2019, taking over as the Steelers' No. 1 receiver in the wake of the much-discussed and publicized Antonio Brown trade in March.
Following Brown's trade to the Raiders, which fetched the Steelers a third- and a fifth-round draft pick, Smith-Schuster and Brown traded words on social media, resulting in an ugly breakup all around.
Emotion: boy fumbled the whole post season in the biggest game of year ! Everyone went blind to busy making guys famous not enough reality these days ! 🤙🏾 by the way check the list https://t.co/2SWWT8k0jx
All I ever did was show that man love and respect from the moment I got to the league. I was genuinely happy for him too when he got traded to Oakland w/ a big contract, and now he takes shots at me on social media?
While Smith-Schuster clearly won't be inviting Brown over for a cookout — or for a water balloon fight — he's quick to give credit where it's due. Brown was known as one of the hardest workers in the entire NFL, and Smith-Schuster says that much is 100 percent accurate. And not only did Brown work hard, but his effort also left an impression on the entire Steelers organization.
"I think everyone picked it [his work ethic] up," Smith-Schuster was telling Dejan Kovacevic at the Rooney Complex during OTAs. "Not only as a receiver, but everybody on this team, they [saw] how AB worked, they [saw] how he came out here every day and he just went hard, 100 percent.
"But I think for myself, I’m just focused on the guys that we have here and how we can get better and just increase our game play."
Last season, Smith-Schuster led the Steelers in receptions (111) and yards (1,426) while trailing Brown in touchdowns (seven to Brown's 15).