JuJu Smith-Schuster’s pregame ritual is no more.
The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver told reporters on Monday that he will no longer dance on opponents’ logos before games, as he had done in pregame warmups before every away game this season.
The 24-year-old has faced increased scrutiny over the past several weeks for posting the clips to TikTok, especially with the Steelers having now lost three games in a row. The conversation reached a fever pitch after Pittsburgh’s loss to the Bengals on Monday night, a game in which Smith-Schuster managed just three catches 15 yards and lost a crucial fumble.
“For the betterment of myself and my teammates, I’m going to stop dancing on the logos,” Smith-Schuster said, according to ESPN. “For me, honestly, I was dancing when we were undefeated. I was dancing when we lost our three games. I’m not going to change the person who I am.
“I think it’s getting to the point where my teammates are being asked this question. Our coach is being asked this question.”
Bengals safety Vonn Bell had said the dances were “disrespectful” before their matchup on Monday night. Bell was the defender who leveled the hit that caused Smith-Schuster to fumble, leading to a Cincinnati touchdown.
Distraction or not, it can be argued that the dances are the least of the Steelers’ problems. Pittsburgh has failed to score 20 points in four straight games, three of them losses, and Ben Roethlisberger has turned the ball over six times over that span.