Chiefs’ JuJu Smith-Schuster hopes L.A. will catch his tremendous act

While enjoying at Long Beach Poly High and USC, JuJu Smith-Schuster dreamed of sooner or later enjoying within the Super Bowl.

Six years into his NFL profession, Smith-Schuster will get his alternative.

The Kansas City Chiefs receiver could possibly be a key participant Sunday when the Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

“I’m super excited to represent Long Beach Poly and USC — and just Los Angeles,” Smith-Schuster stated. “I’ll be repping in the Super Bowl.”

Smith-Schuster, 26, performed 5 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier than signing a one-year, incentive-laden $10.75-million contract with the Chiefs.

Juju Smith-Schuster makes a catch on the primary day of spring observe at USC’s Howard Jones Field in 2016.

(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

The Chiefs subsequently traded speedy Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins, and signed receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, giving All-Pro quarterback Patrick Mahomes an nearly fully new receiving corps to associate with star tight finish Travis Kelce.

Smith-Schuster caught 78 passes for 933 yards and three touchdowns.

“Great personality, so we like that addition that way,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid stated Tuesday. “But he also complements Kelce.

“He has that ability to feel in space, openings, and Patrick trusts that. He’s sure-handed, he’s great after the catch, tough to bring down and he’s smart. He picked all this stuff up and he did it well. Got the confidence of the quarterback. That takes a lot.”

Mahomes indicated that Smith-Schuster’s worth goes past his capacity to run bodily routes.

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“The biggest thing is the joy he brings into the building every single day,” Mahomes stated, “and the work ethic.”

Smith-Schuster started his NFL profession with the Steelers, who chosen him within the second spherical of the 2017 draft.

In his second season, Smith-Schuster caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and 7 touchdowns, and was voted to the Pro Bowl.

In 2020, Smith-Schuster had 97 catches, 9 for touchdowns. But final season, Smith-Schuster caught 15 passes in 5 video games earlier than he suffered a season-ending shoulder damage.

So this season was an opportunity to indicate the Chiefs — and 31 different groups — that he may nonetheless produce.

“He’s one of those guys where you just want to be around him,” Valdes-Scantling stated. “He’s always in a good mood. He brings a great energy to the team, and he’s a dawg on the football field.”

Kelce stated Smith-Schuster made an impression throughout coaching camp. Though he was new to the workforce, he implored teammates to take just a few further reps.

“Like, ‘Hey man, I know we’re dog tired and coaches are giving us a break here, but why don’t we push through some of these extra reps,’ ” Kelce stated about Smith-Schuster. “That kind of stuff goes a long way. It shows guys your dedication, your devotion and how hard you want this, and JuJu has shown nothing but that since he’s been here.”

The transition to a brand new workforce, Smith-Schuster stated, was eased by the way in which he was welcomed by teammates. The time they’ve spent collectively on and off the sphere has solid a powerful bond and an unselfish mindset.

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“You have so many crazy players on the field and there’s one football and everyone wants to win,” he stated. “I will get two catches in the Super Bowl and with a W, and I’ll be happy, so … just the chemistry that we all have together, we’re all in it for one reason.”

Smith-Schuster stated he’s reminded of the magnitude of Sunday’s recreation each time he research his playbook and sees the Super Bowl LVII brand.

“I’ve been chasing a Super Bowl ring for the past six years,” he stated. “I’m actually here, and it’s unbelievable.”