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JuJu Smith-Schuster: ‘I see myself retiring here’ with Steelers

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Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) makes the catch as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris (25) defends during the first half Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Denver.

JuJu Smith-Schuster laments a mediocre time in the 40-yard dash at last year’s combine saddled him with a reputation of not being all that fast by NFL wide receiver standards.

Ultimately, it might have been the best thing for him.

Smith-Schuster’s 4.5-seconds time dropped him to late in the second round, and that landed him on the Pittsburgh Steelers instead of perhaps a struggling team or one without an advanced passing game.

“Yeah it worked out,” Smith-Schuster said Thursday. “Like I said, I think everything falls into place purposefully and … I don’t see myself playing anywhere else. I see myself retiring here.”

He’s only 25 games into his NFL career and just a week past his 22nd birthday, so Smith-Schuster is no danger of leaving via free agency yet (not until the spring of 2021, though he’d be eligible for an extension in about 14 months from now). But Smith-Schuster has 1,972 yards and 135 catches in his career, including 77 for 1,055 this season — both top five in the NFL.

He also became the first player in NFL history to have two touchdown catches of at least 95 yards when he had a 97-yard touchdown reception during Sunday’s win at Denver.

Those are just the types of plays the scouts doubted he could make.

“That was the biggest thing for me coming out of college, like, ‘He doesn’t have breakaway speed, he doesn’t have breakaway speed,’ ” Smith-Schuster said, “but, like c’mon. You’ve seen what I’ve been doing, 97 yards, 75 yards, like c’mon man. I’m out here, man. Thanks to my guys, though, it’s lit.”

Hey, Steelers Nation, get the latest news about the Pittsburgh Steelers here .

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at [email protected] or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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