Smith-Schuster winning the Steelers' most valuable player award, as voted on by teammates, seemed to make matters worse. And frankly, it's downright impressive that Smith-Schuster had the confidence and smarts to reach out to Brown with hopes of learning how to be a professional. However, considering that Texans safety Justin Reid has already come to Smith-Schuster's defense, tweeting that he "can't want to smash this dude", perhaps Brown might want to avoid making too many enemies online. But many players may also feel that Brown's disrespectful treatment of Smith-Schuster and others in Pittsburgh reflects badly on National Football League players. ". now he takes shots at me on social media?"
Smith-Schuster once recalled that message during his first offseason workouts with the team. "Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference". He showed support for his fellow wide receiver from the Pro Bowl but made clear he wouldn't be involved. Roethlisberger may have contributed to some of the tension by saying after a November loss to the Denver Broncos that the Steelers erred in drawing up a late, goal-line pass play for Brown and instead "should've went to [Smith-Schuster] four straight plays".
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Smith-Schuster led the Steelers in receptions (111) and yards (1,426) last season. Some at the time couldn't help but wonder whether it was just by happenstance that the background of the photo included an onlooking Brown.
In the message, dated to 2015, Smith-Schuster (then a USC player) appears to laud Brown and ask the veteran wideout for tips on becoming a better receiver. "Ben has taught me so much, he's a true Leader and I can't wait to rock with my guy this season". He added, "Sad but true".
It's not like Brown revealed anything we didn't know about Smith-Schuster.