JuJu Smith-Schuster Opens up on Free Agency, TikTok, Relationship with Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster joined The Doug Gottlieb Show on Monday, and shared a surprising detail regarding his relationship with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Speaking with Gottlieb on Fox Sports Radio, Smith-Schubert revealed he has not spoken with Roethlisberger since the Steelers’ playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns early last month.
“I have not talked to Ben since the last game,” he said.
When Gottlieb asked if that was normal for the duo, Smith-Schuster admitted to this offseason being under different circumstances considering Roethlisberger’s uncertain future.
“We keep in contact,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think this one’s a little bit different, just because with him trying to figure out what he wants to do and his situation.
📺@GottliebShow: "Juju, since the season has ended, have you spoken with Ben (Roethlisberger)?— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) February 2, 2021
📺@TeamJuJu: "I have not talked to Ben…since the last game."
📺@GottliebShow: "Is that normal?"
Hear JuJu's answer below: pic.twitter.com/16UdqmL351
Smith-Schuster is at a crossroads himself, set to hit free agency this offseason for the first time in his career. He once again reaffirmed his love for Pittsburgh and desire to play with a winning franchise, but admits he wants to be compensated for what he feels he is worth. He also admitted he would like to continue playing alongside Roethlisberger if possible.
“For me, I’m always about winning,” he said. “I want to be on a team where we’re fighting, we compete for the playoffs every year. As far as the business side and the money, I want to be paid for what I’m worth. Obviously for what I do for this team… it all makes sense to bring in Ben, to have a quarterback I can play with in the future.”
The 24-year-old faced his fair share of scrutiny last season, receiving criticism for both his pregame TikToks and comments ahead of the Steelers’ consecutive losses to the Browns to close the season.
With regards to his social media presence, Smith-Schuster continued to double down that he never intended the dances to be disrespectful or a distraction.
On his now infamous “Browns is the Browns” comment, he continues to take the backlash in stride, downplaying the severity.
“I said what I said. I’m not gonna change it back. They’ve got a billboard now in Cleveland just because of me,” he said. “I should’ve trademarked it then…could’ve got some money off of it…”
📺@TeamJuJu: "I said what I said. I'm not gonna change it back. They've got a billboard now in Cleveland just because of me. I should've trademarked it then…could've got some money off of it…"— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) February 1, 2021
Full Interview: https://t.co/iQo7OAYghO
Smith-Schuster led the Steelers with 97 receptions in 2020, also tallying 831 yards and nine touchdowns.
Selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Southern California, Smith-Schuster has 293 receptions, 3,565 yards and 24 touchdowns as a Steeler. He was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl in 2018.