It was a turbulent year for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who started out 11-0 before limping into the playoffs and flaming out in their wild-card matchup against the Browns. But it was particularly turbulent for one of their star players.
JuJu Smith-Schuster was somewhat of a lightning rod for criticism during the Steelers’ late-season swoon, making more headlines for his TikTok dancing and off-field comments than his actual play on the field. After the Steelers’ playoff flameout, rumors started to circulate that Smith-Schuster wanted out of Pittsburgh for a bigger market.
“JuJu came out and said he wants to play in a major market to build his brand, allegedly,” Pat McAfee said on “The Pat McAfee Show,” joking that he may want to go to Los Angeles to join a TikTok house.
Smith-Schuster, however, got ahead of the rumors on Twitter.
“Sources tell me this is completely 100% false lol,” he wrote, quote-tweeting the McAfee clip.
Smith-Schuster made a pre-game ritual of dancing on all of his opponents’ logos during the 2020 season for his TikTok page, which drew scorn across the league – especially when the Steelers started losing. After they were upset by the Bengals in Week 15 – in a game where Smith-Schuster had just 15 receiving yards and lost a key fumble – he put an end to his pregame ritual.
Then, before the Steelers hosted the Browns in the wild-card round, his comments made national news.
“I think they’re nameless gray faces,” Smith-Schuster said of his opponent. “They have a couple good players on their team, but at the end of the day, I don’t know. The Browns is the Browns.”
The Browns went on to beat the brakes off the Steelers, winning 48-37.
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