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LOOK: JuJu Smith-Schuster Returns to Pittsburgh for First Time



Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster returns to Pittsburgh for the first time, Dec. 7, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is back in Pittsburgh in another uniform for the first time since he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs a year ago. Of course, he returns as a well-paid member of the New England Patriots. He also comes back as a Super Bowl Champion, which he won as a member of the Chiefs a year ago with Patrick Mahomes. Before the game, Smith-Schuster found some of his former teammates.

He is just one of three active wide receivers for the Patriots tonight, along with Tyquan Thornton and Jalen Reagor. Malik Cunningham, Matthew Slater, and Ty Montgomery can play there but have not been used in that capacity for most of the season.

Smith-Schuster told reporters in New England this week that he’s excited to be returning to Pittsburgh — and also looking to play the spoiler in front of his former fans.

“I’m excited,” he said. “First time going back. It’ll be cool to see Mike Tomlin, play against those boys and just get a win.”

JuJu Smith-Schuster had many plentiful years with the Steelers after they drafted him in 2017.  He had a torrid start to his NFL career with the Steelers, with 58 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2017 and then 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns in his lone Pro Bowl season in 2018.

The Steelers offense changed big-time in 2019, with the departure of Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger missing most of the season, and Smith-Schuster never really recaptured the magic of his first two seasons in Pittsburgh.

When his rookie contract expired after the 2020 season, the NFL was in the midst of a pandemic-induced salary cap crunch, and Smith-Schuster came back to the Steelers on a one-year deal. But he was injured for almost all of the 2021 season, playing in just five games.