JuJu Smith-Schuster has returned to Pittsburgh for another season, and his impact both on and off the field is growing.
Smith-Schuster spurned the advances of the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, in favor of being faithful and re-signing with the Steelers.
Soon after re-committing to Pittsburgh, JuJu donated $75,000 to 10 local charities, giving a glimpse of the size of his heart.
When asked how he chose which charities to donate to, Smith-Schuster stated, “I chose the charities that spoke to me and were related to what I came from. They were all relatable to me and hit home for me. For example, one was an animal shelter because of my dog Boujee. Another was supporting homeless kids which means a lot to me.”
Smith-Schuster is the second of seven children, and when he was a teenager his parents lost their jobs and home. For eight years, JuJu and family lived in his grandmother’s garage, and he slept on the floor.
The first time Smith-Schuster had his own bed was in college, during his junior year at USC. It was only after JuJu joined the NFL that he enjoyed a private room all to himself.
Due to these experiences, it made it that much sweeter when Smith-Schuster surprised his family in 2020, by buying them a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home with a pool in California.
JuJu’s mother, Sammy Schuster, told OSDB Sports, “Juju overall is an incredible gift giver and very thoughtful. I think the best gift he's ever gotten me was of course the house that he bought for us. I cherish it so much because I know how hard he worked for it.”
JuJu has always been extremely tight with his mom, and she’s witnessed the first touchdown he’s scored at every level. Sammy clearly had a firm, caring hand in shaping JuJu into the exceptional man that he is today.
As we all know, there is nothing more powerful than a mother’s love.
“My most important role as a mom to Juju is to make sure Juju is okay and that he's protected. There's so much craziness that comes with being an NFL Player and in the public eye I just always want to make sure he's not taken advantage of. I'm proud of him and how he's handled everything he's been through, but as his mom, I always want to protect him,” Sammy Schuster said.
In addition to staying close personally, JuJu and Sammy have embarked on a business venture. The Queens Gaming Collective recently announced that the mother and son duo has joined the company as investors and strategic advisors. JuJu is excited about the opportunity, saying “Queens is amazing in what they do and the ways in which they're increasing opportunities for women in gaming. They provide the tools and platform to amplify women in gaming and the skills they all have.”
When asked if she and JuJu would be investing in more projects together in the future, Sammy stated, “Absolutely. This opportunity with Queens has opened a new avenue for Juju and I to continue working together and expanding in a way we never expected. We will continue to explore opportunities that make sense for us and that speak to who we are.”
It’s heartwarming to bear witness to such a lovely relationship between mother and son, especially as Mother’s Day approaches.
The pandemic has complicated things a bit, but Sammy will still get to spend time with JuJu this Sunday.
“Because of COVID and how crazy this year has been, I asked for a BBQ at our house with the family. Just overall having fun, playing games and being together”, Mrs. Schuster said. When asked about Mother’s Day, JuJu commented “I always love hanging with my family and chilling together, especially given how COVID has limited our ability to see one another.”
Sammy isn’t someone who necessarily wants lavish presents from her son, but she would like JuJu to give her one gift in particular.
“I can honestly say that I have everything I could ever ask for...but if I had to say one thing I want is grandbabies from him soon. I have a grandson that I love with my whole heart but I want Juju to be married and with kids soon,” Mrs. Schuster said.
Didn’t JuJu already give birth to a baby on the field vs the Falcons in 2018? I saw it with my own eyes, and it was a beautiful thing!
Enjoy the BBQ, Team JuJu! Happy Mother’s Day to all the hard-working mamas out there. You are the backbone of our society, and are loved deeply. It’s time to wrap this article up so I can call my own mother right now.