Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster on Season-Ending Injury: 'I Sat There and Cried'

Erin WalshOctober 14, 2021

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA - OCTOBER 10: JuJu Smith-Schuster #19 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after being injured against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter at Heinz Field on October 10, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was emotional while speaking about his season-ending shoulder injury at an event for his foundation on Monday night.

“I sat there and I cried,” he said. “I cried all night. I cried because I love this game so much. More than anyone would know.”

Pittsburgh Steelers @steelers

At the <a href="https://twitter.com/JuJuFoundation?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JuJuFoundation</a> Luau on Monday night, <a href="https://twitter.com/TeamJuJu?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamJuJu</a> delivered a message to his family, friends and teammates in attendance. <a href="https://t.co/sbRAIHU2Y8">pic.twitter.com/sbRAIHU2Y8</a>

Smith-Schuster underwent shoulder surgery Wednesday and will miss the remainder of the 2021 campaign after suffering the injury in a 27-19 Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos.

He addressed the surgery earlier this week on Twitter:

JuJu Smith-Schuster @TeamJuJu

Some words from me. Thank you everyone for the love and support! <a href="https://t.co/kCmhyKSXVy">pic.twitter.com/kCmhyKSXVy</a>

The injury occurred on a second-quarter run when the 24-year-old was taken down hard by Broncos safety Kareem Jackson.

It's a tough blow for the Steelers but more so for Smith-Schuster, who re-signed with Pittsburgh on a one-year deal during the offseason after turning down offers from other franchises, including the Kansas City Chiefs.

With the emergence of Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson out wide, it's unclear if the Steelers will show interest in bringing Smith-Schuster back for the 2022 season.

Regardless, the USC product is talented and should have a solid market if he can show he's back to full strength or will be by the time next season comes around.

In 63 career games for the Steelers across five seasons, Smith-Schuster has recorded 323 catches for 3,855 yards and 26 touchdowns. His best campaign came in 2018 when he caught a career-high 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl that year.

Smith-Schuster isn't the only player whose future is uncertain in Pittsburgh. Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been average at best this season, and it's unclear if he has plans to play in 2022—or if the Steelers would be interested in having him back.