In the roster move many Steelers fans were expecting to come soon, offensive tackle Zach Banner has been activated from the Reserve/Injured List to the Steelers 53-man roster. In order to make room for Banner, the Steelers have officially placed wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster on Injured Reserve.
We have placed WR JuJu Smith-Schuster on the Reserve/Injured List and activated OT Zach Banner off the Reserve/Injured Designated for Return List to replace Smith-Schuster on the 53-man roster. @BordasLaw https://t.co/CSGYH1pqAq— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 16, 2021
It’s still not clear exactly where Zach Banner will fit into the Steelers offensive line. While the return of Banner could jolt a spark in this young group, it is not that Banner comes in with overwhelming experience. Starting only two career games, one of which was at tackle, Banner was injured in Week 1 of the 2020 season after winning the starting right tackle job.
Regardless of his playing time, Zach Banner has been called the vocal leader of the position group even while he has been on the Reserve/Injured List. Hosting weekly meals at his house for the offensive linemen, Banner has even been seen in abundance on the sidelines during Steelers games encouraging his teammates.
As for JuJu Smith-Schuster, he underwent shoulder surgery this week which will keep him on the sidelines for what is expected to be the rest of the season. While the rules do not prohibit Smith-Schuster from joining the Steelers at some point later in the season, expecting his return in black and gold in 2021 is highly unlikely.
In five games this season, Smith-Schuster had 15 receptions on 28 targets for 129 yards. Despite not finding the end zone on a reception, Smith-Schuster did have a rushing touchdown in Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders.
A free agent following the 2021 season, it’s uncertain whether or not Smith-Schuster will ever put on a Steelers uniform again. With 26 career receiving touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards in his five seasons, Smith-Schuster had a Pro Bowl selection in 2018.
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