Earlier this week, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster signed a three-year, $33 million contract with the New England Patriots. Smith-Schuster tweeted about being “excited for my next chapter in New England,” but NFL fans reacted to the news by highlighting old Smith-Schuster social media posts in which he trolled Patriots fans.
Consider this Jan. 2018 Instagram post in which Smith-Schuster surreptitiously flips off Tom Brady and the Patriots while posing for a picture with a Pats fan.
Similarly, after Smith-Schuster was photographed taking a selfie with a young Patriots fan in Jan. 2019, he took the opportunity to tweet out the pic, accompanied by the caption: “Ewwwwww!!!!. A Patriots fan!!!”
Well, on March 17, the Patriots’ official Twitter account offered a new take on that photo, pairing it with a famous meme to express a different sentiment.
“Yayyyyyy!!!! A Patriots fan!!!” reads the new caption, which is coupled with photos of Tobey Maguire portraying Spider-man alter ego Peter Parker.
Pats fans seemed to appreciate the effort on the part of Patriots Twitter, though many don’t like the signing, with one fan derisively referring to Smith-Schuster as “tiktok boy,” a criticism that has been leveled before.
Ex-Steelers Players Question Whether JuJu Smith-Schuster is a Fit in New England
Indeed many people are wondering whether the former Steelers 2nd-round pick will be a good fit for the buttoned-up culture in New England. After all, Smith-Schuster repeatedly created controversy in Pittsburgh and drew the ire of opposing players by dancing on the logos of the Bengals and Bills, among others. Never mind his many self-indulgent social media posts, with the ‘Body Shot Challenge’ and ‘Milk Crate Challenge,’ for example, often overshadowing the good work he does in the community.
“I don’t know if I love him with the Patriots. I didn’t want to say it, but is that ‘The Patriot Way’?” said former Steelers linebacker Terence Garvin, while appearing with ex-teammate Arthur Moats on The Arthur Moats Experience With Deke podcast.
“Literally, that was my biggest hiccup,” responded Moats, who played for the Steelers from 2013-17 and was a teammate of Smith-Schuster during JuJu’s rookie year in 2017. “Everyone that I know who has spent time in New England, I don’t see how JuJu deals with that on a day-to-day.”
JuJu Smith-Schuster ‘Outkicks His Coverage,’ Again?
But both Garvin and Moats applauded Smith-Schuster for getting such a large contract,
“JuJu strikes again,” said Garvin. “I don’t care what they say. JuJu, that’s amazing. He’s done great,” he added, not only from a financial perspective, but also by signing a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs, which allowed him to win a Super Bowl ring in 2022-23.
“For himself, this is amazing,” agreed Moats, laughing when Garvin said Smith-Schuster has effectively ‘outkicked his coverage.’
“Seriously, though, you’ve got to respect it. He’s won the Super Bowl, he’s gotten paid about two (or) three times. He’s done it,” concluded Garvin.
Except now Smith-Schuster, 26, will be playing for a team that doesn’t have a quarterback on the level of Chiefs All-Pro Patrick Mahomes, not to mention ex-Steelers great Ben Roethlisberger, who was throwing him the ball during most of the career with the Steelers. And being that he will be playing under the largest contract of his career, expectations will be high, especially considering that he has scored just six touchdowns (three rushing, three receiving) in the past two seasons, as per Pro Football Reference.
Thus far in his career, Smith-Schuster has 401 receptions for 4,788 yards (11.9 yards per catch) with 29 receiving touchdowns. The Steelers selected him No. 62 overall in the 2017 draft out of USC.