The Steelers expected to put JuJu Smith-Schuster on injured reserve, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link). It’s not official yet, but team doctors believe that the shoulder injury he suffered on Sunday will be a season-ender.
Smith-Schuster was forced out after a rushing attempt in the second quarter. If this is the end of the season for the 24-year-old (25 in November), he’ll finish out with 15 catches for 129 yards in five games, plus three carries for nine yards.
The wide receiver is now in his fifth pro season, but his career hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. In 2018, the former second-round pick broke out with 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns en route to his first Pro Bowl appearance. Then, in ’19, he recorded just 42 grabs for 552 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. Smith-Schuster was healthier in 2020 and bounced back somewhat, finishing with a 97/831/9 stat line. When he couldn’t find the payday he was looking for, he re-upped with the Steelers on a one-year, $8MM deal.
Smith-Schuster could have inked a better deal with the Ravens and the Chiefs were also in the mix. Instead, he opted to bet on himself — that gamble may have backfired.