One week after saying he would not stop dancing on opposing teams’ midfield logos before games for videos to be posted on his TikTok account, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has changed his tune, saying that he does not want to be a distraction to his team.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he would have a conversation with the 24-year-old wide receiver about the practice of performing a dance on the midfield logo before pregame warmups on game days, something Smith-Schuster has been doing all season.
But it’s become a talking point in recent weeks as members of the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals pointed toward Smith-Schuster’s dancing as additional motivation for their games, both of which were lost by the Steelers.
“I was dancing when we were undefeated,” Smith-Schuster said. “I was dancing when we lost our three games. Now, I’m not going to change the person who I am. I think it’s getting to the point where my teammates are being asked this question, my coach is being ask this question. I saw it more as no intention of disrespect and just more intentions of my fans. I’m big on social media, the positive and, doing stuff like that, you get the positive and negative. So, for the betterment of myself and my teammates, I’m gonna stop dancing on logos.”
Smith-Schuster emphasized that he felt his dancing becoming a talking point in the media and questions being asked to his teammates and coaches about it was the inflection point for him changing his mind about the practice.
“I don’t want to be a distraction to anybody, my team, or, the other team,” he said. “Like I said, it’s just for the betterment [of the team]. If it’s getting to the point where you guys are asking my teammates and coaches, there’s no point.”
That was the message that Smith-Schuster said was passed to him from Tomlin, as well.
“With Coach Tomlin the conversation what we had was, you know, very similar to what we said, you know, the betterment of the team,” Smith-Schuster said. “You know, when I heard that he was getting asked this question, I heard my teammates were getting asked this question, I felt like, I don’t want to be distraction I think, what I need to do, what I can do to help my offense is just to be more positive and to put points on the board.”
Report: Steelers Interview Former Packers OL Coach James Campen
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing veteran offensive line coach James Campen for their vacancy at the same position, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
Campen is most known for his tenure with the Green Bay Packers, where he served as the club’s offensive line coach from 2007 to 2018. He additionally served as Green Bay’s run game coordinator in 2018, and won Super Bowl XLV over the Steelers in 2012.
He was also the associate head coach and offensive line coach under Freddie Kitchens with the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
Campen was most recently the offensive line coach for the Los Angeles Chargers last season under former head coach Anthony Lynn, but was not retain when Lynn was fired.
The Steelers are looking to fill the vacancy left by former offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, who, along with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, did not have his contract renewed following the 2020 season.
Pittsburgh officially announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator on Monday, even though reports indicated head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to first hire the team’s next offensive line coach.
Campen is just the second reported candidate the Steelers have interviewed for the opening. They also reportedly spoke to Detroit offensive line coach Hank Fraley, who has since been retained by new Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
The Steelers’ next offensive line coach will have their hands full from the jump, as they will be tasked with righting an aging unit that produced the league’s worst rushing attack in 2020.
Report: Former Steelers OL Coach Shaun Sarrett Joining LA Chargers
Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett is reportedly joining the Los Angeles Chargers as their assistant offensive line coach, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
Sarrett, along with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, did not have his contract renewed by Pittsburgh following the 2020 season.
Lackluster play along the offensive line was one of the Steelers’ greatest obstacles in 2020, as the team finished with the league’s worst rushing offense averaging an abysmal 3.6 yards per carry.
Pittsburgh did protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger well, but he rarely faced pressure with the Steelers’ quick-strike passing game, likely by design given the offensive line’s limitations.
Sarrett spent the last nine season in Pittsburgh, taking over for his mentor Mike Munchak as offensive line coach in 2019. Prior, he had served as an offensive assistant (2012-17) and assistant offensive line coach (2018).
The Steelers have reportedly interviewed a pair of candidates to replace Sarrett thus far, most recently speaking with former long-time Green Bay Packers offensive line coach James Campen on Wednesday.
Bud Dupree ‘Ahead of Schedule’ in Rehab from Torn ACL
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”
He recently shared a video of him walking with a brace on Instagram. Dupree also said he expects to be ready for training camp, whether that is in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.
“I’m on track. And I’m going to be ready for camp. It’s a blessing to take the small things from a big injury like there was, and just know that I’m still able to perform next season.”
Dupree was having another stellar season before tearing his ACL in the Steelers’ Week 12 win over the Baltimore Ravens. He had eight sacks, eight tackles-for-loss, 15 quarterback hits and a pair of forced fumbles in eleven games.
Dupree, 27, is set to hit free agency this offseason after playing last season under the franchise tag, which paid him $15.828 million. As crucial as he has been to the team’s success defensively in recent years, it is unlikely the Steelers will be able to resign him given their drastic cap situation.
Still, plenty of clubs will be vying for Dupree’s services in just a few months, and the encouraging injury news will only increase his value on the open market.