JuJu Smith-Schuster Denies He Wants to Leave Steelers for Big Market in FA

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIIJanuary 13, 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) celebrates after scoring on a 5-yard pass from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

Reports that Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wants out of Pittsburgh are false. 

The source? Smith-Schuster himself.

In response to Pat McAfee saying on his radio show that the star was looking to move, Smith-Schuster said the report was "completely 100% false." 

McAfee later added that he was referencing a report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac, who wrote that "Smith-Schuster would like to play in a major market where he could expand his off-field brand and burgeoning social-media presence." 

Smith-Schuster is a free agent after four years with the Steelers, who drafted him in the second round (No. 62 overall) out of USC in 2017. One of the team's top receivers, he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2018 after notching 1,426 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. 

In 2020, his 831 yards ranked third on the team behind Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool, the latter of whom was tied with Smith-Schuster with nine touchdowns.

Off the field, Smith-Schuster's brand has largely grown through TikTok this season, and his fellow teammates have taken notice. Rookie Chase Claypool, who recently signed an endorsement deal with Jordan Brand, noted earlier this year that Smith-Schuster has had major influence on helping him grow and manage his brand.

But that doesn't necessarily mean he's hoping to move to a bigger market this offseason.

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The 24-year-old penned a thank you to fans on Instagram and Twitter following the team's wild card loss to the Cleveland Browns. 

"I am a proud STEELER through thick and thin," he wrote. "I would love to be back for more, to be part of the group that brings this organization to where it belongs."