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Steelers Chase Claypool Shares Eye-opening Facts About JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Leadership

Steelers Chase Claypool Shares Eye-opening Facts About JuJu Smith-Schuster’s Leadership

The Pittsburgh Steelers lost a huge leader of not only the offense, but the entire team when Ben Roethlisberger retired following the 2021 season. But one of the low key huge losses for the locker room was when JuJu Smith-Schuster left for Kansas City. There have been varying reports on whether or not the Steelers wanted Smith-Schuster back, or rather if Smith-Schuster decided he wanted to get out of town due to the uncertainty at quarterback.

Steelers Chase Claypool

CBS Sports

Regardless of why Smith-Schuster left, the point remains that his leadership in the locker room will be missed more than most are noting. Along with Smith-Schuster, teammates James Washington and Ray Ray McCloud left, and receivers coach Ike Hillard didn’t see his contract renewed. That’s a lot of turnover for a close knit group.

Today on the Varsity House Podcast Steelers players Chase Claypool, Minkah Fitzpatrick, and Miles Boykin joined host Shaun Crawford to talk about a host of different topics. And on of those topics that came up was how different is the locker room now that Smith-Schuster is gone. It’s interesting to know that Smith-Schuster was the one who went to Coach Tomlin when things needed to be said.

“Yeah, I think for me as a receiver, the receiver room was super laid back in a good way, where people could ask questions and talk football,” Claypool said. “He would like, I don’t think people understand. JuJu was really, like, one of the best leaders I’ve been around, because he would say what everyone else is thinking. Like, he would talk to an offensive coordinator or receiver coach, or even Coach T, like ‘yo we’re doing this, but this isn’t working’. Or if we did this, we feel like this would be better. So he would say things that we were like, we’re not really in the position to say that, but he would do that for us, no questions asked.”

The biggest challenge for Claypool may be that he lost a friend, and a neighbor off the field. Regardless of Smith-Schuster’s young age he’s been around the block as far as living on his own and being a professional football player for the Steelers. He arrived in Pittsburgh at 20 years old and had to learn things the hard way some times. Claypool was lucky enough to have Smith-Schuster to show him the way for two years before moving out of town.

“And then JuJu, just as a person, I was his neighbor, and he’s the most, like, selfless dude of all time. He would do anything like you asked him. Like, I was a rookie, and I’m like, homie, do you have garbage bags or something? He’s like, No, I don’t, but I’ll go get em for you. Like was getting pretty crazy, stuff like that. So you see. Yeah, I think we’re trying to replace that best we can.”

Steelers Receivers


The time is now for Claypool to step up and become the leader that Smith-Schuster was for the Steelers. Someone is going to have to be the person to approach Coach Tomlin and it’s going to need to be Claypool. Najee Harris is set to be one of the overall leaders of the offense, but he’s going to need someone else at each position group to help him. James Daniels’ will do that on the offensive line, and Pat Freiermuth will continue to develop as a leader too.


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