Asked about Brown’s tweet criticizing Smith-Schuster for fumbling against New Orleans with 32 seconds left, the Steelers now No. 1 receiver didn’t bite.
“At the end of the day, that’s his opinion,” Smith-Schuster said, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “For myself, I stand from afar. I’m not worried about what he’s got going on with his team. I wish him nothing but the best. He’s a great player. He dominates on the field. I’m worrying about the guys we have here, my teammates and how I can be great on and off the field.”
Smith-Schuster, though, admits it is quieter around Pittsburgh without Brown, whom the Steelers traded to the Raiders in March.
“The chemistry is on point,” Smith-Schuster said, via Will Graves of the Associated Press. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone is communicating. There’s really no — how do you say? — drama in our locker room.”
Smith-Schuster also took a veiled shot at Brown, saying he has no pressure to match the numbers Brown posted in his nine seasons in Pittsburgh. The Pro Bowl receiver leaves Pittsburgh having contributed 11,207 receiving yards and 74 touchdowns, an average of 1,245 yards and eight touchdowns per season.
Despite replacing Brown as the team’s featured wideout, Smith-Schuster vows not to let his statistics get in the way of the team goal.
“I’m looking at mine, my own team, how we do and how we win,” Smith-Schuster said, via Graves. “I’m fine. I would take five catches for 30 yards and win the game than have 10 catches, two touchdowns. It’s not really about myself at the end of the day. It’s about the Super Bowl.”
It will take a village to replace Brown. Smith-Schuster concedes that. He will lead a group that includes James Washington, Donte Moncrief, third-round pick Diontae Johnson, Eli Rogers and Ryan Switzer.
Only 22, Smith-Schuster finds himself the leader in the receivers room.
“There’s no need for me to go out of my way and yell at the guys,” Smith-Schuster said. “We’re all adults here. We all know what’s right from wrong and everyone just works. Everyone has a voice in a room. It’s not just mine.”