Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster injured his right shoulder in Sunday's 27-19 win over the Denver Broncos on Sunday. The Pittsburgh Steelers were reportedly worried that it would end his season, and it looks like they were right to be concerned.
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Smith-Schuster is expected to have surgery on his shoulder soon, and will miss the rest of the season.
Clarification: #Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is having surgery, source said, but the surgery has not happened yet. It will, but it hasn’t yet. The decision to have surgery came last night. His status remains the same, as he is expected to miss the season. https://t.co/H3vwleS6fF
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 11, 2021
Smith-Schuster, 24, left the game near the end of the first half after being tackled by Kareem Jackson. He was helped off the field and examined on the sideline, and looked like he was in excruciating pain the entire time.
JuJu Smith-Schuster is in visible pain and has been helped off of the field. pic.twitter.com/yLSBwzmnHu
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 10, 2021
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) October 10, 2021
After the game, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told the media that Smith-Schuster had been taken to the hospital to get further evaluation on his shoulder.
Smith-Schuster's injury could upset his plans
This is the worst of luck for Smith-Schuster. Over the offseason, he turned down several offers larger than the one-year, $8 million deal he eventually signed with the Steelers. He reportedly had offers from the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, but he resisted the allure of catching passes thrown by Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. Instead, he opted to stay with the only NFL team he's ever played for.
Smith-Schuster's decision was about more than comfort. According to Dulac, he took a one-year deal with the Steelers in the hopes of building up his value so he could sign a large contract with another team next year. The best way to do that is to keep playing with the QB he's had success with over the past four years, Ben Roethlisberger. Unfortunately, this shoulder injury has thrown a wrench into all of those plans.