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.
What a blessing! To think how far I’ve come from where I started… Dreamed about playing in this game, and it’s a huge honor to be recognized in this way, thank you!! It’s littttyyy!!! 🔥💫 pic.twitter.com/lDmeMOZ8Bh
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) January 7, 2019
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.
Steelers President Art Rooney II Extends Thanks, Appreciation to Fans
On the heels of such an unpleasant day for many Steelers fans, and even a day that left several players filled with bitterness and animosity because their game was postponed, Steelers president Art Rooney II issued a statement on Thanksgiving morning.
In the spirit of giving thanks and moving on, Rooney expressed his disappointment about the current situation and his appreciation for the support of all of Steelers Nation.
“Though we are disappointed that we will not get to play for our fans on Thanksgiving night this year, we look forward to many more exciting times during the 2020 season,” Rooney said. “Today gives us all a time to reflect and appreciate what we can be thankful for on this holiday. And I want to add a special note of thanks to all our frontline workers for all your tireless efforts in these difficult times.”
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) November 26, 2020
Barring no more issues, Pittsburgh and Baltimore are now scheduled to kickoff at 1:15 pm EST. Just as the game would’ve been Thursday night, it will be broadcast on NBC.
Steelers Tops Among All Teams in Pro Bowl Votes; T.J. Watt Leads OLBs
The Pittsburgh Steelers lead all NFL clubs in votes cast for the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl, the league announced on Wednesday, with outside linebacker T.J. Watt the top vote-getter at his position.
The Steelers led all teams in votes, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills, and did so despite not having any players in the top five overall vote-getters and just two players leading at their position.
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has the most votes of any individual player, with 143,355 votes, followed by Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
For the Steelers, Watt leads all vote-getters at outside linebacker with 69,924 votes. Watt is a two-time Pro Bowler and is coming off a first-team All-Pro season in 2019. He’s currently tied for third in the NFL with nine sacks, one-half behind leaders Trey Hendrickson of New Orleans and Myles Garrett of Cleveland. Khalil Mack of the Chicago Bears paced the NFC’s outside linebackers with 47,689 votes.
The Steelers’ other top vote-getter comes at an unusual position. Long snapper Kameron Canaday leads all AFC long snappers with 48,869 votes. Canaday, in his fifth NFL season and fourth with the Steelers, has never made the Pro Bowl.
While the teams will still be selected, the 2021 NFL Pro Bowl will not be played. Instead the Pro Bowl events will be led virtually and the game will be streamed via Madden NFL 21. The game had been scheduled to be played at Allegiant Stadium in las Vegas on Jan. 31. Voting will continue through Dec. 17.
Ben Roethlisberger Doesn’t Think the Steelers Are Throwing Too Much
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger explains how he deals with the uncertainty each week during this strange 2020 season. His comments were made prior to his team’s game against Baltimore being moved from Thursday night to Sunday afternoon due to safety concerns related to COVID-19.
The veteran quarterback also responded to questions about how many pass attempts he’s had each week and if it’s a concern moving forward.