JuJu Smith-Schuster excited to have “missing piece” back

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While much of the conversation in Pennsylvania came to be about Ben Roethlisberger‘s haircut, all JuJu Smith-Schuster needed to see was his arm.

The Steelers wide receiver said during an appearance on NFL Network that he was energized by how his quarterback looked, after missing most of last season with an elbow injury.

“You’re getting a version that we all expect that he will be at. He’s back,” Smith-Schuster said. “He’s doing what he’s doing. He’s throwing NFL passes, there’s nothing more to that. I’m excited, James Conner is excited, Ryan Switzer is excited. We’re doing things, we’re supposed to be doing.

“And with the great defense we had last year, and this upcoming season I can’t wait to play with him.”

The Steelers have missed the playoffs the last two seasons, but there were moments last year when it appeared they might still have a chance without Roethlisberger. So seeing him well again naturally created some optimism from his top target.

“Honestly, I think it’s going to be a big year for us,” Smith-Schuster said. “I was very happy with the draft picks we got, being able to draft a running back, being able to draft [Chase] Claypool. Good defense. We already had a solid defense. Our missing piece was Ben. I think coming up this year, it’s going to be a great year for us. . . . Just wait. Honestly, I just gotta say just wait and let our pads do the talking.”

Having Roethlisberger back will certainly help, particularly if they can continue to play defense at the same level they did a year ago.