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Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster turns 21 on Wednesday

Joe Rutter
| Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017, 11:30 a.m.
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster fights for extra yards against the Titans in the third quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster fights for extra yards against the Titans in the third quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.

JuJu Smith-Schuster now can legally buy an alcoholic drink.

The Steelers' precocious rookie wide receiver, the youngest player in the NFL, turned 21 on Wednesday.

Although his birthday coincided with the biggest drinking night of the year — the night before Thanksgiving — Smith-Schuster, one of the South Side's highest-profile residents, had no plans to patrol Carson Street.

“I've never been a drinker,” Smith-Schuster said Wednesday after practice. “I don't have a desire to. But I can get in some bars now and use my ID.”

Smith-Schuster has come of age in his few months with the Steelers. He lost — and then had returned — his Ghost Square bike that he rode to and from practice. Then, earlier this month, he got his driver's license.

“It feels great to be 21,” he said. “I feel like I'm up there with the guys now.”

For a player who uses the word “lit” to describe his happiness, Smith-Schuster rang in his birthday with a low-key celebration.

After midnight Tuesday, Smith-Schuster went on Facebook Live and posted a 10-minute video that showed him listening to music in his apartment. He turned on disco strobe lighting midway through the video, then kept the video rolling while he took a congratulatory phone call from his mother in Southern California.

The only beverage Smith-Schuster drank in the video was a sip of bottled water, but he did hold up two oversized champagne bottles as a gag.

Smith-Schuster also had no special plans for his first full night as a 21-year-old.

“Go home, play Call of Duty with the boys, eat some cheesecake, treat myself and keep it simple,” he said.

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

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