PITTSBURGH — JuJu Smith-Schuster‘s Year 2 leap will have to wait.
Smith-Schuster, 21, the NFL’s youngest player to record 1,000 total yards in a season, is limited in Pittsburgh Steelers minicamp with what he calls a “frustrating” knee injury.
Smith-Schuster won’t disclose the nature of the injury but plans to be a full participant for training camp, which opens July 26. The Steelers have sidelined Smith-Schuster for all 11-man work in Organized Team Activities and minicamp.
“Just something that’s been bothering me over time,” said Smith-Schuster of the injury. “Kind of just adds up and lets me know, ‘yo, I need to get it checked out.’ We got it checked out.”
In 2017, Smith-Schuster broke the Steelers rookie receiving record with 917 yards and added 240 yards as a kick returner. Smith-Schuster is eager to build off his rookie campaign and admits being inactive for practices is difficult.
“Once I’m able to run out there and put on the pads and be with my guys, it’s like the whole game changes,” said Smith-Schuster, who finished the year with eight total touchdowns. “It’s like I never left.”
As for replacing Martavis Bryant in the Steelers offense, Smith-Schuster is up to the challenge. He plans to line up as a slot receiver and an outside receiver this season.
“I want it. I love it. This is why I’m here,” said Smith-Schuster of picking up the slack for Bryant, who was traded to the Oakland Raiders in April. “I love the game. Whatever they put on my shoulders, I’m going to carry it and do what I can do for this team.”