The wideout said he was aware the Steelers could select a rusher despite head coach Mike Tomlin’s tendency to select defensive players early in the draft. Once he saw the team had selected Harris, Smith-Schuster reached out to the Alabama product and told him about his championship goals.
“I knew it was a possibility knowing that James Conner has moved on,” Smith-Schuster said on “The Jake Asman Show” on SportsMap Radio. “For us, Coach Tomlin has always drafted a defensive player in the first round, that’s what he’s known for, but for the first time, he’s drafted a running back in the first round. … I was so hyped. I texted Najee, I was like, ‘We’re excited to get some work in, I can’t wait to win the Super Bowl.'”
The Steelers have prioritized revamping the running back position after the club finished last in rushing in 2020. Pittsburgh used a first-rounder on a running back for the first time since 2008 and let Conner – who was the primary starter in each of the last three seasons – walk in free agency.
Pittsburgh has also focused on bringing back many of their stars in hopes of making one last push for a Super Bowl title. Ben Roethlisberger returned on a renegotiated contract, while Smith-Schuster also re-signed on a one-year deal, favoring a return over offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens.
The 24-year-old wideout said he chose to come back due to already being established in Pittsburgh’s offense, which offers him a better chance to bet on himself.
The Steelers started 11-0 in 2020 but lost five of their last six games, including a playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.
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