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Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster out for season, will undergo shoulder surgery

JuJu Smith-Schuster's return to Pittsburgh has met an early conclusion.

The receiver will undergo surgery to address a shoulder injury suffered in Sunday's 27-19 win over the Denver Broncos and will miss the remainder of the 2021 season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported.

NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported Monday afternoon that the Steelers are expected to bring in wide receiver Anthony Miller for a visit and physical Tuesday.

Smith-Schuster suffered the injury in the second quarter of the Steelers' Week 5 game when he carried the ball on an end around and was hit hard by Broncos defensive back Kareem Jackson. Smith-Schuster exited the game and did not return.

The USC product surprised most everyone during the offseason when he decided to take less money to return to the Steelers on a one-year deal. With the Steelers facing significant salary cap constraints, Smith-Schuster was expected to head elsewhere, but ended up opting to run it back with Ben Roethlisberger and the only team he's known as a professional, choosing Pittsburgh over an opportunity to sign with Kansas City.

Pittsburgh struggled to get going offensively in the first month of the 2021 season and its team-wide difficulties showed in Smith-Schuster's production. The wideout caught just 15 passes for 129 yards in four and a half games before suffering the season-ending shoulder injury. Perhaps most unfortunate was the timing of Smith-Schuster's exit, which came during the Steelers' first legitimately productive offensive showing of 2021.

Smith-Schuster's injury brought a disappointing end to his fifth season of his career, which saw him break 1,400 receiving yards as the No. 2 option alongside Antonio Brown in 2018, but fail to exceed the 900-yard mark in each of the three seasons that followed. It's likely he'll again hit the open market and is expected to head elsewhere in 2022.

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