Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster exchange barbs after Brown blames JuJu for fumbling away Steelers season

A rivalry between Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster appears to be developing before our own eyes. As is the case with many modern feuds, it happened on Twitter and Instagram.

On Sunday, when a Steelers fan reminded Brown that Smith-Schuster was named team MVP over Brown last season, Brown responded by reminding all of Twitter that it was Smith-Schuster who fumbled away a potential Steelers win against the Saints late in the season, which played a significant role in the Steelers missing the playoffs. 

Oddly enough, that tweet came less than two hours after Brown tweeted "keep your emotions off the internet."

Brown isn't wrong, though. He's referring to Smith-Schuster's fumble that sealed the Saints' win over the Steelers in Week 16. At the time, the Steelers trailed by three in the final minute of the game, but a completion to Smith-Schuster took the Steelers inside the Saints' 40-yard line. That's when he fumbled:

It's the moment the Steelers lost control over their playoff destiny. It's also the last time Brown played for the Steelers. The feud with the team would begin during the week leading up to Week 17. It eventually ended with the Steelers sending Brown to the Raiders last month.

Brown's criticism might not have been wrong, but it wasn't at all necessary. Immediately after the game, Smith-Schuster apologized for letting the team down. Furthermore, there were plenty of other moments along the way that the Steelers can point towards to explain their unsuccessful season. There was a Week 1 tie against Hue Jackson's Browns. There was Ben Roethlisberger's goal-line interception against the Broncos (which Big Ben tried to blame on Brown) that resulted in a loss. There was even a three-point loss to the Raiders, a team that managed to win only four games last season. Over the course of the season, Smith-Schuster caught a team-high 111 passes for a team-high 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns (Brown had 15 scores). So while it's true that Smith-Schuster's fumble proved to be costly, it's not exactly fair to blame him for the Steelers' failures last season.

It's also rather pointless. If anything, it hurts Brown's reputation more than Smith-Schuster's. Mostly everyone already remembers that Smith-Schuster fumbled away that game. But they also remember the report that indicated Brown might've been upset about Smith-Schuster winning team MVP. They remember the reports that painted Brown as a diva. Brown's tweet on Sunday does more to reinforce his reputation as a diva than Smith-Schuster's as a fumbler -- largely because Smith-Schuster has only fumbled once in his career.  

Smith-Schuster responded to Brown on Sunday. Like everyone else, he seemed to be confused as to why Brown felt the need to take an unnecessary shot at him.

But Brown didn't stop there. He fed more fuel to the feud. He took the fight to Instagram.

On Monday, he posted what appears to be a screenshot of Smith-Schuster asking Brown for advice back when Smith-Schuster was still playing collegiately at USC. 

View this post on Instagram

........🎤 #OnToTheNext

A post shared by Antonio Brown (@ab) on

If Brown intended to make Smith-Schuster look bad with Monday's post, he failed. All that screenshotted direct message proves is that Smith-Schuster did, in fact, look up to Brown and did, in fact, treat him with respect. 

Brown's latest post makes no sense. If anything, it makes Brown look like the jerk for calling out a younger player for asking him for advice while Smith-Schuster comes across as the normal, nice, polite, and respectful young player who sought out advice from one of his idols. It serves as evidence that everything that Smith-Schuster tweeted about above was true. 

To review: 

And that's where we're at as of Monday afternoon. Brown said he's "#OnToTheNext" and Smith-Schuster has no real reason to respond to Brown's latest barb that backfired by making Smith-Schuster look like the better person, so that could be the end of the social media feud between the two receivers. That, of course, seems unlikely given just how much Brown appears to love tweeting.

Until next time.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

Our Latest Stories