Juju Smith-Schuster is back in training camp;  Steelers have a 21-day window to activate it

Tomlin did not deny but he did not assure that Smith-Schuster is ready to play, however, he has already practiced

PITTSBURGH — Diontae Johnson wasn’t quite sure what to make of JuJu Smith-Schuster in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room before practice. For the first time in three months, Smith-Schuster got dressed, donned sneakers and gear at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex practice facility after the Steelers designated him to return from the disabled list Thursday.

“I had no idea about it,” Johnson said after practice. “I was surprised to see him in the locker room. I was like, ‘Hey, are you getting ready or something?’ I’m glad he’s back. If he gets a chance to play, I’ll be excited for him. they miss doing his dances and everything he does.”

Smith-Schuster participated in Thursday’s practice, and although coach Mike Tomlin did not elaborate on Smith-Schuster’s involvement., Johnson gave an encouraging review.

“To me, it looked like he was ready. He has to get back into things, but he looked calm today.”

“Great hands, natural catcher. Great hands, strong guy. Watching him run shows he’s still JuJu at the end of the day. It’s exciting.”

The Steelers have 21 days to activate him on the roster. , Y Tomlin does not rule out the possibility of Smith-Schuster playing against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

“I don’t know that,” Tomlin replied when asked if his wide receiver could play Sunday. “We just started the 21-day window. What happens here and a lot of other questions are part of the equation.”

The team also activated wide receiver James Washington from the booking/COVID-19, and Coach Tomlin gave an update on running back Najee Harris (elbow), saying the rookie is scheduled to return to practice Friday. That turnout will be “decisive” for Harris’ availability on Sunday.

Smith-Schuster had been on the disabled list since Oct. 16 after suffering a shoulder injury against the Denver Broncos in Week 5 and had surgery later that week.

Smith-Schuster, 25, has just 15 receptions for 129 yards in his young season. Since Smith-Schuster left, Ray-Ray McCloud has fulfilled his role as a slot receiver, catching 39 catches for 277 yards.

Smith-Schuster will be a free agent again this offseason after returning to the Steelers on a one-year deal for the 2021 season. But he told ESPN that does not rule out staying in Pittsburgh.

“Because I’ve done it before, I know what it feels like,” Smith-Schuster told ESPN in December about free agency. “I think in my head I’m going to be totally fine. It’s a whole new market. There’s more money involved, more salary-cap space available, especially the Steelers are one of the best teams. Right now, we’re not talking to just anyone. We’re going to let takes place in February and March

“The Steelers are still the top priority, but it all depends on how they move their pieces: who they bring in. Who is the future. They still have to go get the guys, pay the guys.”