In an interview on Monday morning before the Steelers kick off their first padded practice of 2020 training camp, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster talked about several subjects in regards to the 2020 season. Going into a contract year, Smith-Schuster is looking for a big season with the Steelers.
Entering his fourth year in the NFL, the one thing a young player does not want to do is let others pass them by. With the mentality of knowing at all times there could be somebody working hard to take your job, it drives many NFL players to work even harder. In Smith-Schuster’s case, he made sure he found something new to work on this offseason to help make him a better player according to Teresa Varley of Steelers.com.
'Every year you find something new. You always want to push yourself. I wanted to become a better player for the team.' - @TeamJuJu on his offseason workouts— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2020
One thing which was apparent with Smith-Schuster is he worked very hard in the offseason to get his body into even better shape. Based on numerous pictures on Instagram, JuJu made having his body ready for the NFL season a high priority leading up to training camp. On Monday, Smith-Schuster confirmed he had been working with a specialist throughout the offseason in order to transform his body.
JuJu Smith-Schuster said he worked with a high-performance coach this offseason to tone his body and get stronger. He said he did more one-on-one, individual work and it helped him out.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2020
One way in which Smith-Schuster seems to have benefited from his body transformation is even though he appears to have toned his muscle quite well, he is actually the lightest he has been playing football in quite some time.
JuJu said this is the lightest he has been. He said the tools he has in his box is knowing the playbook, knowing defenses.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2020
Another area of preparation for the 2020 season according to Smith-Schuster was getting to know the offense even better. Looking more at the offense as a whole, Smith-Schuster now feels he is working toward mastering every position and the entire offensive playbook.
JuJu said he learned the offense more in the offseason to be able to 'master' every position and know the whole offensive playbook before the season starts.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2020
Although entering a contract year, JuJu Smith-Schuster does have the opportunity to sign a new contract with the Steelers before the start of the season. With the Steelers having a self-imposed rule of not signing new contracts during the season, Smith-Schuster is one of many players who could be in line for a new contract before the Steelers kick off Week 1 on September 14 against the New York Giants. But when it comes to discussing his contract situation, Smith-Schuster is leaving that up to his agent and is instead focused on playing football.
JuJu Smith-Schuster on his a potential new contract: I am not thinking about that right now. Focused on football. Would love to remain with the Steelers.— Teresa Varley (@Teresa_Varley) August 17, 2020
Throughout the interview, Smith-Schuster‘s uncertainty beyond the 2020 season seemed to be a topic which some continued to bring up. But according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, JuJu refused to take the bait.
#Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster very deftly keeps avoiding questions about his contract situation and where talks are. Says, “I’m just here to play ball.”— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) August 17, 2020
Whether or not JuJu Smith-Schuster remains with the Steelers beyond 2020 is still anyone’s guess. With uncertainties with the salary cap for the 2021 season, contract extensions before Week 1 may be difficult to figure out. But rather than worry about the future, Smith-Schuster seems focused on the present and being the best wide receiver he can be for the 2020 Pittsburgh Steelers.
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