The Cleveland Browns will be severely outmanned when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, but some feel wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has given the team bulletin board material ahead of their first playoff game in 18 years.
Speaking with the media Wednesday, Smith-Schuster was asked if this iteration of the Browns had a different vibe than in years past. He does not seem to see much of a difference in this year’s squad.
“They’re still the same Browns team I play every year,” Smith-Schuster said. “I think they’re nameless gray faces. Yes, they have a couple of good players on their team, but at the end of the day, I don’t know, the Browns is Browns. It’s like one of those things. It’s AFC North football. They’re a good team, but I’m just happy we’re playing them again this Sunday.”
Even though Smith-Schuster was reciting a well-known adage of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin and winked twice on the Zoom session to imply his sarcasm, Cleveland fans and media members alike have run with the story, painting it as the wideout disrespecting the Browns.
Smith-Schuster has been pedestrian against the Browns over his four-year career, catching 28 passes for 387 yards and two touchdowns, while owning a 4-2-1 record.
He did catch six passes for 65 yards and a score in the Steelers’ loss to the Browns last Sunday.
While Smith-Schuster’s remarks are harmless, Cleveland is looking for any added advantage they can get Sunday, as they will be without multiple key contributors, including head coach Kevin Stefanski and left guard Joel Bitonio.
The Browns are making their first postseason appearance since 2002, a Wildcard weekend loss to the Steelers, which was also played at Heinz Field.