Brown's disappearing act in Week 17 allowed Smith-Schuster to lead the Steelers in catches (111) and receiving yards (1,426), ending a streak of five years for the former. With Brown's saga coming to a close, Smith-Schuster undoubtedly will top the depth chart in 2019 in an offense that has ranked in the top 10 for both points and yards each of the past five campaigns. The biggest question mark will be how Smith-Schuster reacts to increased attention from opposing defensive coordinators. In three games without Brown in his two pro seasons -- the 2018 regular-season finale, plus Weeks 16 and 17 of 2017 -- Smith-Schuster totaled 20 receptions (on 27 targets) for 255 yards and three touchdowns.
Smith-Schuster (knee) isn't believed to be dealing with a serious injury, ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler reports.
Smith-Schuster was removed from Sunday's Pro Bowl in the second quarter with an injury that was initially reported as a knee bruise. There may have been some concern after he was spotted with a limp and declined to talk to the media, but Monday's update downplays the severity of his injury. The 22-year-old wide receiver will have nearly three months to regain his health before the Steelers begin their offseason program in mid-April, at which point Antonio Brown may or may not still be with the team. After finishing fourth in the NFL with 166 targets this past season, Smith-Schuster conceivably could go even higher in 2019.
Smith-Schuster limped to the bus and declined comment after suffering a knee injury during the Pro Bowl on Sunday, The Associated Press reports.
While the injury has merely been deemed a knee bruise, it sounds like Smith-Schuster is dealing with a considerable amount of pain. That doesn't mean his recovery will require a lengthy process, but it will at least be something to keep in mind as the Steelers prepare for an interesting offseason. The team reportedly is fielding trade offers on Antonio Brown, who was benched for the regular-season finale after missing practices and meetings throughout the week. Smith-Schuster would be a strong candidate to lead the NFL in targets if Brown were to end up with another team.
Smith-Schuster sustained a knee bruise during the Pro Bowl on Sunday, Brooke Pryor of The Kansas City Star reports.
Smith-Schuster caught one of three targets for 16 yards prior to leaving the game. The injury doesn't appear overly serious. but it would nevertheless be surprising to see the 22-year-old retake the field Sunday.
Smith-Schuster caught five of 10 targets for 37 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 16-13 win over Cincinnati.
Smith-Schuster finishes up the 2018 season as Pittsburgh's top receiver with 111 catches (on 166 targets) for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns in 16 games. He also gained 13 yards on one rushing attempt. Paired with Antonio Brown, the Steelers have the most prolific wide receiver tandem in the league, combining for 2,723 yards and 22 touchdowns on 215 receptions this season. Smith-Schuster is signed for two more years, although it wouldn't be a surprise if he looked to renegotiate a new deal before his current contract expires.
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