Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says he’ll talk to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster about dancing on opposing team’s midfield logo, but did not specifically say that he will prohibit him from doing so.
Smith-Schuster has been dancing on midfield logos before games and putting the videos on his social media accounts all season. It did not seem to be an issue until the Steelers’ trip to Buffalo in Week 14, when Bills quarterback Josh Allen made it a part of his pregame message to his team before facing the Steelers.
“The recipe is simple, guys,” Allen said. “Let them do all the (expletive) talking and all the dancing, and we do the work.”
Before the Steelers’ game against Cincinnati on Monday, Bengals safety Von Bell called Smith-Schuster’s dance routine “disrespectful” and then went out and rocked the Steelers wide receiver with a huge hit that caused him to fumble, one of three first-half turnovers by the Pittsburgh offense that helped spot Cincinnati a 17-0 lead.
.@Vonn knocks it out from Pittsburgh TikTok star.
WATCH on ESPN pic.twitter.com/n4BNZHcJ0J
— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) December 22, 2020
Tomlin was first asked about Smith-Schuster’s dancing after the Buffalo game, when he said he was unaware of it, but downplayed any potential impact it might have when it comes to the results of the games being played. Smith-Schuster said during the week leading up to the Bengals game that he wasn’t going to stop having fun before games.
“I’m not going to stop being myself,” Smith-Schuster said. “I’m going to be the Juju I’ve came in to be — authentic. TikTok is a new platform that I’ve used to touch my fans and grow. This is something I’ve been doing, since the start of the season, mid season. I even did it on a Cowboys logo. So it’s like, it’s not not just their logo, but the Steelers logo and, and I’m trying to just keep doing it, you know. I’m just having fun doing myself. … So, yeah, I’m not gonna stop doing it.”
Tuesday, Tomlin said that he would talk to Smith-Schuster about continuing the trend, but did not specifically say that the would bar him from dancing on teams’ logos in the futures.
“I do plan to talk to JuJu, but we are professionals,” Tomlin said. “I doubt any of those antics and things of that nature are legitimate motivating factors as you step into professional stadiums, but it is about respect. We’ll have a conversation, but I understand it is about the quality of play inside the white lines. I’m not seeking comfort or looking for excuses based on our recent performances on things that occur pregame or things of that nature that are social media-related.”
The Steelers play at home on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and finish their regular-season road schedule with a trip to Cleveland next week. The Browns have not painted a midfield logo on their playing surface at FirstEnergy Stadium this season.
Report: Ben Roethlisberger Wants JuJu Smith-Schuster to Return to Steelers for 2021
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return to the team, according to a report by NFL Network, and he apparently also wants wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to return to the team with him.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafalo reported that Roethlisberger has communicated to the team that he wants Smith-Schuster back for the 2021 season.
Roethlisberger has one season left on his contract, which carries a $41 million cap hit, including $19 million of salary. Smith-Schuster is set to become a free agent for the first time in his career after making $1.04 million in 2020.
Roethlisberger’s contract is a big part of a money crunch that has the Steelers as much as $40 million over the 2021 salary cap entering the offseason.
Smith-Schuster is expected to make as much as $15 million per year on a market-value contract.
It’s not clear how the Steelers would be able to fit both Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster under the 2021 salary cap. Roethlisberger would almost certainly have to take a significant pay cut.
Report: Steelers to Promote Matt Canada to Offensive Coordinator
The Steelers are expected to promote quarterback coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, according to a report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Randy Fichtner, who had held the job since 2018, was not retained as the team’s offensive coordinator the team announced, the team announced on Thursday.
The #Steelers are expected to promote QB coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. A creative mind originally from the college game, Canada also interviewed with the #Dolphins but now stays in Pittsburgh.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 16, 2021
Canada, 48, spent his first season in the NFL with the Steelers in 2020 as quarterbacks coach. He had also been a candidate to become offensive coordinator at Miami.
A native of New Palestine, Indiana, Canada has been a coordinator at multiple stop at the collegiate level. He was most recently Maryland’s offensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2018, guiding the Terrapins to 5-7 record after the firing of D.J. Durkin following the death of a player in an offseason workout.
Before that, Canada was a coordinator at LSU, Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Indiana and Butler.
At Pitt in 2016, Canada was a finalist for the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach after leading the Panthers to a program record in points scored. He coached NFL quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett at NC State and Nate Peterman at Pitt. Steelers running backs James Conner (Pitt), Anthony McFarland (Maryland) and Jaylen Samuels (NC State) all played under Canada.
Canada is the sixth offensive coordinator hired by the Steelers in the last 20 years and all but one of them have been internal promotions.
The Steelers will need to replace Canada as quarterbacks coach, as well as tight ends coach James Daniel, who retired, and offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, who was not retained, on the offensive staff.
Report: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger Expected to Return for 2021
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to return for the 2021 season, according to a report by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Roethlisberger, 38, said after the season that he would take time to consult with his family and think about whether he wanted to return for an 18th NFL season.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said earlier this week that the Steelers would welcome a return by Roethlisberger.
In 2020, Roethlisberger started all but one game for the Steelers, as he was rested in the regular season finale against Cleveland. In 15 regular season games, he threw for 3,803 yards while completing 65.6 percent of his passes, 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Roethlisberger pushed the ball downfield less in 2020 than he has in the past, which his 6.3 yards per attempt the lowest full-season mark of his career. Pro Football Focus rated him as the 25th-most effective quarterback in the NFL this season and the worst of the four starters in the AFC North.
In Pittsburgh’s postseason loss to Cleveland, Roethlisberger set an NFL record for completions in a game while racking up four touchdowns and 501 passing yards, but also threw four interceptions.
His contract is a potential sticking point, as he is set to earn $19 million in salary in 2021 in addition to a $22 million deferred signing bonus from the last time he signed a contract that must be paid out, whether Roethlisberger plays or not.
Depending on the final salary cap figure, the Steelers could be as much as $40 million over the salary cap entering the 2021 offseason.