The Steelers activated receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster from the reserve/injured list ahead of Sunday’s Wild Card Round game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Smith-Schuster injured his shoulder in the second quarter of the Steelers’ Week 5 win over the Denver Broncos and underwent surgery for it. He was placed on the reserve/injured list on October 16 and returned to training last Thursday.
After his first practice, coach Mike Tomlin had the following to say.
“He worked hard in rehabilitation and got to this point and we just started the 21-day window,” Tomlin said. “We’re going to watch him, see how he’s feeling and check his level of conditioning, things we normally do when people enter that 21-day window. It’s just part of the process. It was just the start. .”
Smith-Schuster had 15 receptions for 129 yards, an 8.6-yard average and no receiving touchdowns in five games before the injury. He had three carries for nine yards and a rushing touchdown.
“JuJu is an incredible player,” running back Najee Harris said. “Seeing him back in training, everyone is pretty invigorated. Just seeing him in training is a big boost, just to have another key player back. All it takes is another guy come back and training gives us even more energy.”
Fellow receiver Diontae Johnson said he liked what he saw of Smith-Schuster in practice and it was like watching the player he was used to seeing.
“I thought he looked slick,” Johnson said. “He’s still got good hands, a natural receiver. Big hands, strong. Just watching him run, he’s still JuJu at the end of the day and that’s exciting.
“I’m happy he’s back. If he gets the chance to play, I’ll be excited for him, to see him do what he does, which is make plays. It was good to see him there.
“He brings that positive energy that we need and that he always brings. You want to be with a guy like that, who’s all about the football, all about his teammates. Wanting to do anything for the team. And he’s a people person. So there’s never a dull moment when he’s around.”
The team also released punter Corliss Waitman.