JuJu Smith-Schuster fights back tears, delivers heartfelt message after season-ending injury

Sports

Yahoo Sports 14 October, 2021 - 11:03am 3 views

Penn State student from Gwinnett County earns JuJu Smith-Schuster Foundation scholarship

Gwinnettdailypost.com 14 October, 2021 - 02:20pm

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Massey earned the $5,000 scholarship along with Fernando Ramirez of Azusa, Calif., Phillip Sandoval of Albuquerque, N. Mex., and Darian Colligan from Baton Rouge, La.

Smith-Schuster is an  NFL receiver and the youngest player ever to reach 2,500 career-receiving yards. Off the field, he supports youth through his charity, the JuJu Foundation. Since 2019, the foundation has been committed to philanthropic efforts such as supporting Pittsburgh’s local charities and children in need. The JuJu Foundation Scholarship was created to help students facing financial burdens. Each recipient receives $5,000 toward their education.

“Darian, Damien, Fernando and Phillip all submitted amazing essays for The JuJu Foundation Scholarship. It is an honor to be in a position to help them pay for college through Bold.org and the JuJu Foundation," Smith-Schuster said. "I am so grateful to be a small part of their journey as they pursue their education and career.”

"I am extremely thankful for the opportunities that have been granted to me as a result of this scholarship. Being selected as a winner caught me by complete surprise and I still can't believe I was chosen," Massey said. "With the help of the JuJu foundation, I am now able to afford my education at Penn State University, and move one step closer to my dream of becoming a successful architect."

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JuJu Smith-Schuster: 'I Love This Game So Much, More Than Anyone Will Know'

Steelers Depot 14 October, 2021 - 02:20pm

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a significant shoulder injury during Sunday’s game. He had surgery to repair the damage yesterday. But in between, just a day later, sporting a sling on his right arm, he hosted a luau event for his own charity, the JuJu Foundation.

And he was painfully open and transparent about what the previous 36 hours had been like. The team’s Twitter account shared an excerpt of a speech that he gave to those in attendance, displaying his raw emotions about having had the game taken away from him. I will transcribe it, but it’s important to actually watch the video.

At the @JuJuFoundation Luau on Monday night, @TeamJuJu delivered a message to his family, friends and teammates in attendance. pic.twitter.com/sbRAIHU2Y8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2021

Smith-Schuster came into the game as a fun-loving 19-year-old who would outwork just about anybody else on the field anyway. For the most part, he really hasn’t changed who he is at the core five years later, even if perceptions have changed.

But this short speech is, I think, a good reminder of who JuJu Smith-Schuster the person is, the man behind the personality. I think it’s hard not to feel for him, and hard not to root for him. He may not take every step off the field—and in front of a cell phone camera—that others approve of, but he’s never been anything but business between the lines, at least until he or his teammates get into the end zone. Then it’s party time. And I can’t wait to see him back out there delivering a Kamehameha, or another football baby, regardless of what uniform he may be wearing.

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JuJu Smith-Schuster fights back tears, delivers heartfelt message after season-ending injury

Sports Illustrated 14 October, 2021 - 11:03am

Minty Bets, Nick Bromberg, Pamela Maldonado, Frank Schwab

Andy Behrens, Dalton Del Don, Matt Harmon, Liz Loza, Scott Pianowski

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

You Pod to Win the Game

Smith-Schuster delivered his message a day after finding out he would miss the rest of the season.

At the @JuJuFoundation Luau on Monday night, @TeamJuJu delivered a message to his family, friends and teammates in attendance. pic.twitter.com/sbRAIHU2Y8

— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 14, 2021

Smith-Schuster appeared at the podium with his right arm in a sling. He fought through tears as he started his speech.

"Last night was the hardest night for me, because football has done so much for me in my life, more than you guys will ever know," Smith-Schuster began. "My stepdad put my in football when I was 4 years old. It was fun. You get to hit kids and not get in trouble, right? I always loved the game.

"Last night was hard for me because, when I got the call from the doctors, you know, shoulder injury, I thought you put it back in and you'll be fine within two weeks and our bye week is coming up and I was like, 'I can take two weeks off, come back and play this season.' Doctor called me and said, 'Hey, man, I think we have to do this surgery. You can get a second opinion.' And [he] said it was a season-ending injury.

"And I sat there and I cried. I cried all night. I cried because I love this game so much, more than anyone will know. I know the whole social media thing, and the whole TikTok and dancing and all that, I do it because it's my personality and I love it. Don't get me wrong. 

"But football will always come first. Without football, I wouldn't be who I am today. Without football, this wouldn't be. I wouldn't ... be a role model for a lot of people. I cried that night because you just never know what the future holds for you. If I look at the light in front of me, and don't keep my head down and just keep pushing forward and I come back even stronger than I was this year, I know god has a bright future for me."

Smith-Schuster sustained a season-ending shoulder injury during the team's Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos. In five games, Smith-Schuster caught 15 passes for 129 yards and no touchdowns. 

Smith-Schuster's numbers were lower than usual as the Steelers' offense has struggled to open the season. The team scored 20+ points in just two of its five games this season. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger received criticism for his slow start. He has just 6 touchdowns against 4 interceptions through five games. 

Though the team lost Smith-Schuster, Sunday's game offered hope that Pittsburgh can turn things around. The team scored a season-high 27 points against a tough Broncos defense. Roethlisberger had his best game of the year, throwing 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. 

Losing Smith-Schuster hurts, but the Steelers have enough offensive weapons to handle his absence. If Roethlisberger shakes off his early-season rust, the team can still contend in an ultra-competitive AFC North.

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Beyond the New Orleans Saints' quarterback transition from Drew Brees to Jameis Winston, and the club's month-long displacement by Hurricane Ida, there has been the challenge of having half-dozen or more prominent players unavailable because of injury or suspension. The Saints (3-2) still managed to take a winning record into this week’s bye, and are hoping to welcome a handful of players back to action when they return to the field. Left tackle Terron Armstead has missed two games since his Week 3 elbow injury; running back Tony Jones Jr., a regular in the backfield behind Alvin Kamara, went out with an ankle injury early in a Week 4 loss to the New York Giants.

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Mile High Sports 13 October, 2021 - 04:08pm

The Denver Broncos are spiraling, having dropped their second game in a row, the latest being a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Straight out of the gates, Denver allowed a touchdown on the Steelers first drive of the game and then immediately went 3-and-out following a delay of game penalty on their first offensive play of the game.

Once again, a Broncos wide receiver takes the mantle of best offensive performer this week.

On a day where there were not many bright spots, Courtland Sutton stood out and made plays for his team. With seven receptions on 11 targets, 120 yards receiving, and a touchdown, Sutton was easily the most consistent offensive player in the loss to the Steelers.

COURTLAND SUTTON. #BroncosCountry

— NFL (@NFL) October 10, 2021

This isn’t new territory for Sutton as he has graded out in the top 20 wide receivers through the first five games, according to PFF.

If this team wants to get back to it’s winning ways, the veteran wideout is going to have to play an enormous part in getting this offense corrected and Teddy Bridgewater should look for him to shoulder that load because he is capable if doing so.

Something is wrong with Noah Fant and it’s beginning to become very troubling. Against the Steelers, Fant’s stat line was 3 receptions on 4 targets, for 30 yards. Not only was the offensive output completely underwhelming, but PFF had him graded out as the worst run blocker and the worst pass blocker on the entire offense.

This is becoming more and more of a problem for Denver. As productive assets have sustained injuries the opportunity for Fant to blaze a personal trail within this offense is at an all time high and for some reason he has been unable to live up to the first round value that was attached to him.

Additionally, either the coaching staff is unable or unwilling to create plays to get him the ball and let him see what he can do with it which is more of an indictment on them then it is on Fant.

Still not a single target to Noah Fant … I don't understand

— Romi Bean (@Romi_Bean) October 10, 2021

Something has to give or the word “bust” might start to get bandied about.

Mike Purcell has been a defensive force for the Broncos thus far this season. His ability to maintain his assignment and shut down the opposing team’s running game has been stellar and nothing to scoff at.

A player like Purcell is invaluable to a defense because you can play him with the expectation that he will do his job and he will do it to a high level. It may not be the flashy plays you get from an edge rusher or a player like an Aaron Donald, but the impact is still felt, and teams still are made to respect it.

Great play for Mike Purcell ends in pain. pic.twitter.com/SOsJIMm4YH

— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) October 10, 2021

Purcell is a team first player and is willing to put his body on the line in it will get his team the win. Expect to see more of the same from Purcell as the season continues forward.

A player who hasn’t seen the bottom of this list so far this season was Kyle Fuller but unfortunately this week changed that outlook.

Fuller had an all-time bad game in a Broncos uniform and arguably in his NFL career.

Seventy-three of the Steelers’ 85 yards on their first series came at the expense of Kyle Fuller.

— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) October 10, 2021

Pittsburgh has an array of talented pass-catching players, but it appeared that whomever Fuller’s assignment was play-to-play, was able to beat him down the field and this happened time and time again throughout the day. He was simply picked on over and over.

Fuller is a talented vet that was brought in specifically because he had seen success in coach Fangio’s defensive system. He had been a solid acquisition up until this showdown with the Steelers but his feeble performance is going to leave a sour taste in the team’s mouth.

Hopefully for his sake, and Denver’s, he can bounce back and shake off an all-time stinker.

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