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Steelers' JuJu Smith-Schuster Activated off IR, Expected to Play vs. Chiefs

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2022

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting healthier ahead of Sunday's playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who has not played since Oct. 10, tweeted the following: "God answered my prayers & I've recovered from my season-ending shoulder injury earlier than expected. I can't believe I get another chance to take the field with this team and play in a playoff game to keep our season alive."

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network noted Smith-Schuster was activated from injured reserve and should take the field Sunday.

Smith-Schuster suffered the shoulder injury during a loss to the Denver Broncos and was not expected to return this season.

However, the fact that Pittsburgh snuck into the playoffs thanks to its own victory over the Baltimore Ravens combined with the Indianapolis Colts' loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers' loss to the Las Vegas Raiders gave him more time to recover.

He isn't the only one who will be on the field despite a previous injury designation, as the Steelers announced running back Najee Harris will play and is no longer questionable despite concerns about his elbow.

Smith-Schuster appeared in five games this season and finished with 15 catches for 129 yards.

It was a far cry from the 2018 campaign, when he posted 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns and appeared well on his way to becoming one of the best receivers in the league since that was just his second season.

He has been unable to replicate that production since, although he did have a career-best nine touchdowns in 2020.

Pittsburgh will still have a difficult time winning in Kansas City against Patrick Mahomes and Co. but Ben Roethlisberger will at least have Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool and Smith-Schuster to throw to in addition to Harris coming out of the backfield.

The visitors will need all those weapons to play well and keep pace with the Chiefs.            

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