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JuJu Smith-Schuster officially activated, Corliss Waitman released

After being a surprising return to practice this week, Smith-Schuster is set to play in Sunday night’s game.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made their final roster moves ahead of Sunday night’s Wild Card matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers have activated wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster from the Reserve/Injured List after he was designated to return on Wednesday. In a corresponding move, the Steelers have released punter Corliss Waitman.

Smith-Schuster suffered a shoulder injury on a rushing play in the Steelers Week 5 matchup against the Denver Broncos. While Smith-Schuster alluded to his injury as being “season ending” at a charity event, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not use the same verbiage when describing the injury. Although Smith-Schuster returned to practice this week, the Steelers had yet to bring back a player the same week they were designated to return. The fact the Steelers activated Smith-Schuster indicates both sides are confident he is ready to compete at a level to contribute to the offense.

For the 2021 regular season, Smith-Schuster only appeared in five games before his injury where he had 15 receptions on 28 targets for 129 yards and no receiving touchdowns. Smith-Schuster did have three rushing attempts for 9 yards and a rushing touchdown before his injury.

A free agent yet again following the 2021 season, Smith-Schuster had signed a one-year deal with the Steelers last offseason. With another chance at free agency, many believed Smith-Schuster had played his last game for the black and gold. While there is always the possibility of Smith-Schuster returning to the Steelers beyond the 2021 season, now there is at least a chance he could contribute on the field this weekend.

To make room on the roster, the Steelers have released punter Corliss Waitman. Signed to the Steelers roster on Christmas Day from the New England Patriots practice squad, Waitman punted in Week 16 and Week 17 for the Steelers and averaged 52.1 yards on seven punts. In the Steelers previous matchup with Kansas City, Waitman punted twice for an average of 60.5 yards.

Stay tuned to Behind The Steel Curtain as the Steelers travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Sunday night in the Wild Card round of the 2021 NFL postseason.