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JuJu Smith-Schuster Mum on Contract Negotiations as Steelers’ Deadline Approaches



If there has been progress on a new contract between Steelers star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and the team, he’s keeping it to himself.

Speaking to the media ahead of the Steelers’ first padded practice on Monday, Smith-Schuster declined to expand on if there’s been any movement toward a new deal as he enters the final season of his rookie contract, saying the talks are between his agent and the team.

Smith-Schuster is scheduled to earn $1.04 million this season in the final year of his four-year rookie contract and is set to be come an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. Historically, the Steelers have not negotiated new contracts with players once the season begins, meaning that the two sides have less than a month to make a new deal that would prevent Smith-Schuster from becoming a free agent.

He did say that whether or not he gets a new contract, he will be a full participant in training camp and the 2020 season.

“I’m just here to play ball,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’m not the kind of guy that is going to sit out.”

The situation between the 23-year-old Smith-Schuster and the team has been muddled by a 2019 season that challenged Smith-Schuster seemingly for the first time in the NFL.
After catching 14 touchdowns and hauling in over 2,300 yards over his first two seasons, Smith-Schuster had just 42 catches for 552 yards and three touchdowns last season, his lowest output in terms of scoring, yards per reception and overall yardage.

There were many factors that contributed to the decline, including a nagging turf toe injury, a concussion and a knee injury that limited him to 12 games overall, an unsettled offensive situation after the loss of star quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and the emergence of rookie wide receiver Diontae Johnson as another top target.

The Steelers also have a glut of free-agents to be with, Smith-Schuster joined by starting running back James Conner, outside linebacker Bud Dupree, defensive lineman Cam Heyward and offensive linemen Zach Banner, Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva.

The team already has over $100 million in contracts on the books for 2021, including Roethlisberger’s $31.5 million cap hit.

Watch JuJu at practice on Pittsburgh Sports Live.


Terrell Edmunds Explains New Nickname



Terrell Edmunds informs the media, including Mike Asti and Alan Saunders of Steelers Now, about his new nickname. Call him “Old Fashioned” from now on. He also expresses how feels about the current state of the Steelers, and that’s obviously includes being happy about the team’s record but also understanding the need to improve.

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Steelers Week 10 Game vs. Bengals Flexed to 4:25 p.m. National Broadcast



The Steelers game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 has been flexed into a national television broadcast slot.

The Steelers and Bengals will now kick off at Heinz Field on Sunday, Nov. 15 at 4:25 p.m. The game had originally been scheduled to kick at 1 p.m. It will be broadcast nationally on FOX. All of that weekend’s early games will be broadcast on FOX, as CBS has coverage of The Masters, which was rescheduled from this summer.

The game will be Pittsburgh’s first matchup against 2020 NFL Draft No. 1 pick, Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.

The Steelers are also playing a 4:25 p.m., nationally broadcast game in Week 9 against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. That game will be televised by CBS.

That will be the second time this season the Steelers will be placed in a nation-wide television slot. The team opened the season playing on ESPN’s Monday Night Football against the New York Giants.

The Steelers’ Week 7 game against the Tennessee Titans was protected by CBS in a 1 p.m. time slot, but was broadcast nearly nationwide, with CBS only showing two other 1 p.m. games.

The Steelers will play on national television at least three more times this season: against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, Nov. 26, on Sunday Night Football against the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 13 and at the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday, Dec. 21.

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What Does Being NFL’s Last Unbeaten Team Portend for Steelers?



The Steelers are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL after beating the formerly unbeaten Tennessee Titans on Sunday while the Seattle Seahawks lost on Sunday night, leaving the Steelers as the only 6-0 team in the nation.

What does that mean for them in the long term? Not as much as you might think.

In the last 20 years, one of the last undefeated teams didn’t even make the playoffs three times: 2002 4-0 San Diego Chargers, 2014 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles and the 2016 5-0 Minnesota Vikings. Ten other times, one of the last undefeated teams (some years, there are more than one), lost in the first or second round of the NFL playoffs.

Just once since 2000 has the last undefeated team won the Super Bowl, in 2006 when the Indianapolis Colts started 9-0 on the way to winning Super Bowl XLI.

In the first three decades of the league’s modern era, that was significantly different. The last undefeated team won six Super Bowls in the 1990s, two in the 1980s and three in the 1970s, including the 1972 Miami Dolphins, who finished a perfect 17-0, the only team in NFL history to do so.

More recently, being the last undefeated team has resulted in a bunch of Super Bowl losses, including the last time the Steelers were the league’s last unbeaten team. 

The 2001 St. Louis Rams, 2002 Oakland Raiders, 2004 Eagles, 2007 New England Patriots, 2009 Colts, 2010 Steelers, 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2018 Los Angeles Rams and the 2019 San Francisco 49ers all made it to the championship game after being the last undefeated team before losing in the end.

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