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Steelers notebook: Rough stretch for rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster

Joe Rutter
| Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, 6:51 p.m.

Rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster isn't having the best week of his young professional football career.

First, he was called out by teammate Martavis Bryant in an Instagram post on Sunday night and had to address the matter Monday with reporters.

Then, it was revealed Tuesday by Steelers coach Mike Tomlin that Smith-Schuster is in concussion protocol.

To make matters worse for Smith-Schuster, his bike was stolen, and he had to walk to UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Tuesday from his South Side residence.

Because he doesn't have his driver's license, Smith-Schuster has been using his bike to commute to and from practice. His goal is to have his license before he turns 21 on Nov. 22.

Smith-Schuster took to Twitter for a plea to have his bike returned. He posted a video of himself riding his bike Monday and then walking to the Steelers complex on Tuesday.

Antonio Brown got involved in the search, offering a reward of two tickets to a future home game for the person who returns Smith-Schuster's bike to the practice facility.

Smith-Schuster had a 31-yard touchdown reception Sunday in the Steelers' 29-14 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, followed by a scoring celebration of hide-and-seek with running back Le'Veon Bell.

But Tomlin said Smith-Schuster started experiencing concussion symptoms after the game.

Elsewhere on the injury front, Tomlin said defensive end Stephon Tuitt (back) and right tackle Marcus Gilbert (hamstring) “could be available” to play Sunday night against Detroit.

Tight end Vance McDonald has a knee bruise that could limit his practice participation, Tomlin said.

Cute celebration

After Bell was penalized for excessive celebration against Kansas City, he said he was unaware he couldn't use the goalpost as a prop. Tomlin said the Steelers “revisited” the NFL's relaxed celebration rules.

“For those that celebrate, it's important that they err and err on the side of caution, if necessary,” he said.

The Steelers had one of the most publicized celebrations Sunday when Smith-Schuster and Bell played hide-and-seek.

“I have no problems with the celebrations, and JuJu is cute and all of that provided it doesn't cost our football team,” Tomlin said. “I think they are doing the necessary research to make sure they are within the lines.”

Nothing to talk about

Although the NFL is not going to suspend Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for his kick to the head of Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix, he could face a fine.

Tomlin, though, isn't going to lobby the NFL on Nix's behalf, and he isn't interested in giving his opinion of the play.

“It's fruitless,” he said. “The league office is going to do what it's going to do.”

The NFL releases any fines and their amounts on Friday.

Tomlin did allow that the kick likely will be revisited by the media when the Steelers play at Cincinnati on Dec. 4.

No handshakes

Burfict caught the Steelers off-guard when he refused to shake hands at the pregame coin toss. Burfict, one of the Bengals' five captains, kept his hands behind his back the entire time.

Roethlisberger called it a “huge shock” on his weekly 93.7 FM radio segment.

“Even if you absolutely hate your opponent,” he said, “you would think you'd have a little bit of respect.”

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

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