JuJu Smith-Schuster is not buying Vontaze Burfict’s excuse for his PED excuse.
Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug policy, but according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he’s planning to base his rebuttal on the argument that he was prescribed medication for a concussion stemming from a hit by Smith-Schuster.
The Steelers receiver found this to be hilarious.
Lol you can’t be serious https://t.co/hYZeZ2OzfF
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) March 17, 2018
That dude Burfict been on too much Slurp Juice and now tryna blame me
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) March 17, 2018
You can see the hit in question here. It did net Smith-Schuster a one-game suspension, but while it certainly may have caused problems for Burfict, it doesn’t seem like an excuse that will hold up when it comes to a drug suspension.
Players almost always take their foot off the gas and give less than 100 percent effort during the Pro Bowl, but Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster insists he would have been the exception if he was invited to the event.
While watching the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Smith-Schuster joked about players not running full speed. The rookie said they should have stayed home and let him take their spot.
If y’all didn’t actually wanna play in the pro bowl you could’ve let me know! I’d be in that full speed!
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) January 28, 2018
Smith-Schuster had a great first season in Pittsburgh, catching 58 passes for 917 yards and seven touchdowns. He should have plenty of Pro Bowls in his future if he continues to play like that, and he has already joked about bringing some of his trademark touchdown celebrations to the all-star game. If and when he is invited to a Pro Bowl, we’ll see if he changes his mind about going hard in an exhibition game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster scored the final touchdown in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 34-6 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday, and he had quite an interesting celebration that apparently was an homage to a Christmas movie.
After catching his 18-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger, Smith-Schuster sat down in the back of the end zone and used the ball as a prop. He pretended to unwrap it like a Christmas present. Then he had a mock snowball fight, which was a nod to “Elf.”
RT if you knew what my celebration was pic.twitter.com/RCwVn6gSIz
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) December 26, 2017
Smith-Schuster has become a social media star and fan-favorite during his rookie season, and video clips like this help explain why. And at least this week’s celebration was a lot less controversial than his last one.
JuJu Smith-Schuster certainly doesn’t seem to regret his hit on Vontaze Burfict. Instead, he’s recreating it in touchdown celebrations.
In his first game back after serving a one game suspension for an illegal block — which he followed up by taunting — Smith-Schuster joined up with Martavis Bryant, who caught the touchdown, to stage his block on Burfict in the form of a touchdown celebration.
Juju returns from suspension for his helmet to helmet hit & taunt against Vontaze Burfict.
Immediately turns it into a TD celebration pic.twitter.com/Kh0waTJfE7
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) December 17, 2017
This isn’t even the first time Smith-Schuster has celebrated a touchdown by reenacting an NFL scuffle, but it being his own — and one he was suspended for — is certainly notable. There’s probably not much the NFL can do about this, but they can probably conclude that the Steelers receiver didn’t exactly learn his lesson.
JuJu Smith-Schuster served a one-game suspension and will have to pay a fine for his vicious hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in Week 13, but the rookie wide receiver expects one of his teammates to help him cover the cost.
After the game in which Smith-Schuster was flagged for his crack-back block on Burfict, Brown applauded him and offered to pay the fine. Smith-Schuster told reporters on Wednesday that he is holding the All-Pro receiver to it.
JuJu Smith-Schuster: "(Antonio Brown) still owes me for that fine. I gotta get that. He still owes me. I will try to get him today."
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) December 13, 2017
Burfict, of course, has a long history of dishing out cheap shots — especially against the Steelers. He infamously knocked Brown out of a playoff game with a brutal blow to the head two years ago, so Brown obviously felt like the linebacker got what he deserved. After Pittsburgh’s game two weeks ago, Brown was all smiles in the locker room and made some vague comments about “karma.”
Players aren’t supposed to cover each other’s fines, but Brown and Smith-Schuster will probably work something out. After all, the rookie is making a base salary of less than $500,000 this season. Brown signed a five-year contract worth more than $70 million with the Steelers this past offseason. He can afford it.
Several NFL players were suspended this week for hits during games that were deemed dangerous and illegal, and Ben Roethlisberger goes not think his teammate deserved to be one of them.
On Tuesday, Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was given a one-game suspension for his vicious block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Roethlisberger believes the punishment does not fit the crime.
“I didn’t think it was warranted,” the quarterback said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I thought maybe a pretty steep fine. I thought what happened, the play happened within the context of a football play. It wasn’t away from the ball. It wasn’t a hit on a kicker or a defenseless player. It was a guy getting ready to make a tackle, a much bigger player.”
Smith-Schuster was flagged for a crack-back block, which has been an illegal play for several years now. It probably didn’t help his cause that he stood over Burfict and taunted him, which is something Roethlisberger alluded to. However, Big Ben felt what Rob Gronkowski did to a Bills defender — which also resulted in a one-game suspension — was far more egregious.
“Obviously, we don’t like the taunting, standing over him,” Roethlisberger added. “I don’t like to compare players and suspensions, but if you look at what [Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski] did and what JuJu did … and they got the same suspension. I don’t know that that’s necessarily fair, but that’s above all of our pay grades.”
When Smith-Schuster leveled Burfict, it was in the middle of a live play. Gronkowski’s hit came after the whistle and on a player who was already face-down on the ground, so you can understand why Roethlisberger feels the two plays should not have resulted in the same disciplinary action.
Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals featured a number of eye-popping hits, and two of them have resulted in suspensions.
The NFL announced on Tuesday that Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka have each been suspended for one game.
JuJu Smith-Schuster & George Iloka have each been suspended 1 game for violations of safety-related playing rules. pic.twitter.com/OyDq7Ca4jy
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 5, 2017
Smith-Schuster leveled Vontaze Burfict with an illegal peel-back block, and he didn’t help his cause by standing over the Bengals linebacker and taunting him after he leveled him. The type of block the rookie threw was outlawed several years back, and he was flagged 15 yards.
— Defend The House (@DTHFootball) December 5, 2017
Iloka’s suspension stems from a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot he threw on Antonio Brown in the end zone:
Unreal. Bengals respond with a brutal hit from S George Iloka on Steelers WR Antonio Brown. pic.twitter.com/DoLMgjHuqi
— Clint Lamb (@ClintRLamb) December 5, 2017
Of course, many Steelers fans took satisfaction in Smith-Schuster’s hit because Burfict was on the receiving end. The Bengals linebacker has a long history of dirty play and has been suspended for it himself, which is why one Pittsburgh player essentially celebrated the hit after the game.
After Rob Gronkowski was suspended for a cheap shot on a Buffalo Bills defender, Smith-Schuster and Iloka give us three players who have been suspended for in-game hits this week.