The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster in their Week-14 game vs. the Baltimore Ravens after the NFL suspended him for his hit on Vontaze Burfict on Monday Night Football.
You can imagine what Steelers fans think of the NFL upholding the suspension, but Ben Roethlisberger chimed in on what he thought of the play on his weekly radio show on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh.
“JuJu’s was obviously in the realm of the game. I don’t think it was a cheap-shot by any means. Cheap-shots are when you hit someone away from a play, you go low on someone that’s not looking. He’s trying to block a guy that’s probably going to make a tackle. I really believe that he was just trying to help a teammate out being a selfless guy.”
What did Roethlisberger say to Smith-Schuster after the play? You just can’t stand over a player like that.
“I told him afterwards, I said listen, ‘Love the effort, love how you’re trying to help your teammate get open. Standing over a guy, uncalled for.’ And he knew it. I think he knew it right away. I think he regretted it and he genuinely felt bad about that.”
When asked if he thought Smith-Schuster should be suspended for the hit, his answer was clear.
“I don’t think anyone should be suspended. I especially don’t think JuJu should be suspended for his actions. It was a football play that happened in the realm of a play being run. Obviously, standing over him isn’t what you want, but is standing over someone warrant a suspension? I don’t believe so.”
It should be noted this show was recorded at 11:00 a.m. ET, and Smith-Schuster’s suspension, appeal, and upheld suspension was not announced and finalized until Tuesday evening. Either way, I doubt Roethlisberger’s sentiments on this game were his own. In other words, I’m sure the Steelers’ locker room is more than upset about Smith-Schuster missing the Ravens game this Sunday. But in a season where it’s been one drama-filled story after the other, this should be nothing new for the Black-and-gold.
To hear the entire Ben Roethlisberger radio show, click HERE.