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JuJu Smith-Schuster Earns Pro Bowl Nod

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It hasn’t been a great week to be a Pittsburgh Steelers pass-catcher.

However, the team received some needed good publicity when the NFL announced second-year Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was added to the Pro Bowl roster on Monday. Smith-Schuster will be replacing teammate Antonio Brown, who will officially miss the game due to what was officially called an injury, although Brown may just want to skip the game due to recent negative media attention.

Yet this is JuJu’s big moment, and the young USC product couldn’t appear to be more elated to take part in the league’s annual All-Star game.

Smith-Schuster’s 2018 campaign included 111 receptions for 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns total. After an impressive rookie season, many wondered how Smith-Schuster would be able to build off his initial success. His answer? Finishing top five in the AFC in both receptions and receiving yards.

2018 also saw JuJu take on more responsibility in the offense. With Brown constantly double-teamed, Smith-Schuster was asked to make big plays when it counted, and he certainly rose to the occasion more times than not.

“He is a great player. He does everything well. He’s got the ability to play outside, inside. He is quick, he is fast, and he’s strong with the ball in his hands,” said New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick ahead of facing Smith-Schuster last season. “Long passes are a problem. Catch and run passes are a problem. He does a great job of going up and getting the ball, taking it away from defenders. He is very athletic, fast, explosive powerful, hard to tackle.”

It’s refreshing to have such a vibrant and positive presence in the locker room amid a slew of negativity, as Smith-Schuster’s infectious personality has earned him thousands upon thousands of fans outside of the city of Pittsburgh by just being himself. It remains to be seen if Smith-Schuster will be replacing Brown as the team’s number one receiver in 2019. For now though, JuJu will get to live out a childhood dream of playing in the Pro Bowl, a well deserved achievement for the superstar in the making.

The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 27th at 3:00 PM ET in Orlando, Florida. You can watch it on ESPN/ABC television networks.

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Should Steelers Sign Zach Banner to be Starter in 2021?

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Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault.

He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. With Banner expected to be ready for a return next season, should the Steelers sign the 27-year-old with the anticipation that he could be a key piece to bolster the offensive line that was missing during the 2020 season?

Do you believe in Zach Banner? Comment below with why or why not.

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Steelers

Zach Banner Announces Self-imposed Social Media Ban Until he Signs New Deal

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Zach Banner is sending a clear message about his priorities ahead of the 2021 NFL season. Banner, who is a free agent and looking for a new deal with the Steelers, tweeted that he is going to stay off social media until he officially signs on the dotted line.

Zach Banner has become a prominent member of the Steelers, but that’s not because he’s had success on the field over the past year. Banner’s success has come off the field by connecting with fans on social media and doing his part to help those in need than he has on a football field. But by no means is that Banner’s fault. He suffered a season ending torn ACL in Week 1 of the 2020 season. This injury was especially devastating for the USC product because it occurred on the heels of Banner winning the starting right tackle position following a tough training camp battle with Chukwuma Okorafor.

Due to Banner’s injury, it was Okorafor who ended up starting 16 games, including the postseason. While Banner kept in good spirits and became his team’s loudest cheerleader on Twitter during games, it was clear he wanted to be on the field and contributing.

Earning a starting spot as a member of the Steelers offensive line was a major career achievement for Banner, but it was one he didn’t get to enjoy. Banner now hopes to return to Pittsburgh and be the missing piece the Steelers offensive line desperately needs.

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Rooney: Steelers Plan to Return to St. Vincent for 2021 Training Camp

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There is plenty that remains up in the air about the 2021 NFL offseason, but the Pittsburgh Steelers still have plans to resume one of their enduring traditions that was broken by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The Steelers were forced to forgo their trip to the campus of St. Vincent College near Latrobe, Pennsylvania in 2020 due to the NFL’s rules regarding keeping players isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s unclear how much those restrictions will change for the NFL teams this summer, but as things stand as of today, the Steelers are still making plans to return to the Laurel Highlands for the team’s annual training camp this summer.

“As we sit here today, our plan is to have training camp in Latrobe,” team president Art Rooney II said to Steelers.com on Friday. “We still have a ways to go to get there, but I think there’s a pretty good chance that’s going to be able to happen. We’re still hopeful we’re going to have some form of offseason program, and it’s probably not going to start on time but I think it’s important particularly for the young players that we get back to having an offseason program and then a full training camp and preseason games. I think we need to have that to help the young players continue to develop.”

Displaced from their usual bucolic summer home and from UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side due to capacity limitations, the Steelers spent the 2020 training camp and preseason at Heinz Field.

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