Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Joe Haden cautioned people not to be sidetracked by the dancing of his teammate JuJu Smith-Schuster.
On Tuesday, Haden posted on Twitter:
The Pittsburgh Steelers Smith-Schuster is a one-man motivational reel — for opposing teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver has a pre-game ritual. He dances on the other team’s logo. He dances and bounces, then spikes the ball. Someone video tapes it and then Smith-Schuster posts it on TikTok.
When Pittsburgh Steelers Were Winning, It Was All OK
Light-hearted dancing is OK during a winning streak. The Steelers enjoyed a sizzling start to 2020, winning their first 11 games. Since then, Pittsburgh dropped three straight, including a defeat Monday night at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals. Keep in mind, the Bengals are without starting quarterback Joe Burrow, who blew out his knee last month.
What once was deemed funny now comes off as pre-meditated and disrespectful. Third-year players with the Pittsburgh Steelers probably should know better.
Cincinnati safety Vonn Bell bulldozed Smith-Schuster in the first quarter. The tackle forced a fumble and helped the Bengals take a 10-0 lead.
Before the game, Bell talked about Smith-Schuster’s antics.
“He’s still young-minded,” Bell said. “He loves the game. He loves going out there, playing. It’s kind of disrespectful at the end of the day. But they’re on top right now so you can’t really say nothing right now. We just gotta go out there, between the lines, go out there and hit him and let him know where he stands.”
Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen gathered his team in the tunnel before kickoff and told the Bills players: “Let them do all the talking and the f—ing dancing, we f—ing work.”
So yes, something is wrong with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Is it something so simple as getting Smith-Schuster to stop dancing? Probably not.
Reporters peppered Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin Tuesday about Smith-Schuster’s behavior. Tomlin shrugged off the dancing earlier in the season. Now, it’s a subject about discipline. In a three-game losing streak, any potential distraction is magnified.
“I am aware of it and I do plan to talk to JuJu,” he told media on Tuesday, seemingly hinting at the end of the ritual.
“We’re professionals,” Tomlin said. “I doubt any of those antics and things of that nature are legitimate motivating factors as you step into professional stadiums. But it’s about respect and so, we’ll have a conversation. But I understand that it’s about the quality of play inside the white lines. And so, I’m not seeking comfort or looking for excuses based on our recent performances on things that occur in pregame or things of that nature that are social media related.”