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Pittsburgh Steelers star JuJu Smith-Schuster on dealing with haters: ‘Use as fuel to build more fire to the flame’

(CNN) —  

JuJu Smith-Schuster has had to deal with his fair proportion of on-line haters.

The Pittsburgh Steelers large receiver grew to become the focus of opposition followers’ ire final season due to his pre-game routine of performing a dance straight on the brand of the opposition staff on the discipline for his TikTok followers.

With many on-line commentors discovering the act disrespectful – as effectively as a few of his fellow NFL gamers – Smith-Schuster merely views the criticism as an opportunity to flip it into one thing more optimistic.

“For everybody and all the younger athletes who see this, you’re going to have dangerous days,” the 24-year-old instructed CNN Sport’s Andy Scholes. “You’re going to have dangerous video games. You have dangerous performs.

Smith-Schuster warms up ahead of a game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Katharine Lotze/Getty Images

Smith-Schuster warms up forward of a sport towards the Los Angeles Chargers.

“You’ve obtained to have that subsequent play mentality. Lucky for us, we play each week, and that’s a superb factor. There’s a subsequent observe or the subsequent day the place you come again, you get higher. And that’s in the previous. But all the dangerous and negativity, you simply use as fuel to build more fire to the flame, and you may grow to be higher and simply use that to inspire you truthfully.”

Smith-Schuster’s feedback come shortly after the current social media blackout happened throughout a lot of the soccer world, with English Premier League groups and gamers notably stepping away from Twitter, Facebook and Instagram over three days in protest towards on-line racism and discrimination.

For Smith-Schuster, who himself is a giant soccer fan, the Premier League gamers’ stance was “wonderful.”

“I believe it’s one thing that all of us see that individuals deal with all through their day by day life,” he mentioned.

“It being a voice and it being heard and everybody supporting, I believe it’s an incredible factor. At the finish of the day, I believe [there are] lots of people who deal with stuff like this, that goes unknown and so they’re scared to communicate up and discuss it.”

READ: Social media companies are doing ‘bare minimum,’ to protect players, says ex-Premier League star

Smith-Schuster is tackled by Bradley Chubb and Kareem Jackson of the Denver Broncos.

Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Smith-Schuster is tackled by Bradley Chubb and Kareem Jackson of the Denver Broncos.

After a disappointing finish to the 2020 season, Smith-Schuster and the Steelers are out to show a degree for the 2021 marketing campaign.

Having began the 2021 season with a franchise-best 11-0 file, the staff misplaced 4 of their final 5 video games earlier than crashing out of the playoffs to division rivals the Cleveland Browns.

After a number of years of prioritizing defensive gamers, the staff picked Alabama operating again Najee Harris in the first spherical of the 2021 draft. That change in emphasis might assist revolutionize the staff, in accordance to Smith-Schuster.

“I instructed Coach [Mike] Tomlin: ‘Finally, you draft the first offensive participant since I’ve been right here.’ I believe in the previous 10 years, he’s been drafting all defensive gamers in the first spherical. So that’s tremendous thrilling,” defined Smith-Schuster, who signed a one-year contract in the offseason to return to the staff that drafted him.

Najee Harris rushes against the  Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Najee Harris rushes towards the Ohio State Buckeyes throughout the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship sport.

“Even signing a good finish [Pat Freiermuth from Penn State University] in the second spherical, it’s additionally tremendous thrilling, offensive gamers, more weapons for us to use and simply can’t wait to get again and to dominate the season.”

During the 2021 season, as an alternative of 16 NFL common season video games, there will likely be an extra sport for gamers to put together for.

Although it signifies that followers will get more alternatives to watch their favourite gamers take the discipline, an already physically-demanding sport will grow to be even more taxing.

It’s change that might end in NFL careers being shortened as a end result, in accordance to Smith-Schuster.

“It takes rather a lot on your physique. It takes a toll, particularly if you happen to’re an older man, like an older vet, it can in all probability take more of a toll on you,” he mentioned.

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Eric Ebron celebrates a touchdown with Smith-Schuster against the Dallas Cowboys.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Eric Ebron celebrates a landing with Smith-Schuster towards the Dallas Cowboys.

“You’re speaking about practising day by day, three or 4 instances all through the week after which moving into and principally simply smashing out and hitting one another.

“That [extra game] goes from enjoying in the league for 10 years to enjoying in the league for like six, seven years.”

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