Are the Steelers the Kardashians? JuJu Smith-Schuster and J.J. Watt seem to think so
Pittsburgh will likely be without Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown in 2019
It's fair to describe the last six months in Pittsburgh as ... eventful. It started with Le'Veon Bell sitting out the season and ended with Antonio Brown no-showing in a critical Week 17 game against the Bengals that could hasten his exit out of town despite still being one of the league's best wide receivers.
And the Steelers, one of the NFL's most explosive teams on paper, somehow bumbled their way to missing the playoffs altogether. Through it all, T.J. Watt was one of Pittsburgh's most reliable players; the 2017 first-round pick had 13 sacks last season, including three multi-sack games. We mention Watt, who showed up on time and did his job at a high level without drama, because his brother, J.J. appeared recently on Late Night with Seth Meyers.
Myers, it turns out, is a huge Steelers fan, and not surprisingly, the conversation turned to the turmoil that found its way to Pittsburgh during the 2018 season.
"It does seem very dramatic," J.J. Watt, the Texans defensive end, told Myers. "It's like somebody that's watching the Kardashians, and I can call one of the Kardashians. I'll call my brother, I see everything on TV, and I'll be like, 'OK, give me the real story.' And it's pretty wild. It's pretty wild."
Watt didn't go into detail about "the real story," but we've heard enough in recent weeks and months to know that the team wasn't close to living up to expectations in '18. Steelers president Art Rooney II told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month that it would be "hard to envision" Brown with the team in training camp, adding that while they wouldn't release the mercurial star, "all other options are on the table."
Since the season has concluded, Brown has tweeted about his Pro Bowl snub, tweeted a cryptic response to Rooney's remarks, been called out by former teammate Ryan Clark, and took to Instagram -- along with Chad Johnson -- to defend himself. And barring the unforeseen, the Steelers will head into next season without Bell and Brown.
It's enough to again evoke the reality-television comparisons.
"I think everyone has to stop being divas," wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler several weeks ago. "I think we need to stop being the Kardashians and just play ball."
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