JuJu Smith-Schuster is entering a pivotal year in his NFL career. The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver signed a one-year contract with the team this past offseason after having a productive 2020 campaign. PopCulture.com recently caught up with Smith-Schuster who revealed whether he wants to play for the Steelers beyond the 2021 season.
"Definitely do the best I can to help my team members, but then again, I'm also looking for like, 'Hey, I would love to come back here for another four more years,'" Smith-Schuster told PopCulture. "I would like to play nine years with this division. Hopefully one day I can have the chance to retire here. Why not?"
Smith-Schuster was drafted by the Steelers in the second round in 2017. After a strong rookie season, Smith-Schuster had a breakout year in 2018, catching 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns, leading to him being selected to his first Pro Bowl. In 2019, Smith-Schuster became the Steelers No. 1 receiver after the team traded Antonio Brown. But due to injuries, the USC alum played in just 12 games and caught a career-low 42 passes for 552 years and three scores.
For the 2021 season, Smith-Schuster has set some lofty goals for himself. "Obviously being able to have a hundred catches, 10-plus touchdowns, a thousand yards and do whatever I can do to help out my team, wherever that may be playing inside, outside being able to make box down the field, and like I said, whatever that may be," he said. One thing about the 2021 season is Smith-Schuster should be able to have a career year if he stays healthy. The NFL has expanded the regular season to 17 games, which has led to a debate among players. It makes the season longer, which could be a concerning issue for players when it comes to their health, but Smith-Schuster doesn't mind the extra game.
"The more games you play, the more fun when you love football," Smith-Schuster stated, "but talking about someone getting older and it's wear and tear on your body. And it's like you, add on playoff games and stuff like that. It's very interesting. I think that for myself, me personally, I don't mind extra games, but then again, when you get older it's going to catch up to me and I'll be like, ah, I don't think I'm going to play that extra game."