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JuJu: 'I love the game of football'
September 22, 2017 12:45 PM | Teresa Varley
He is young and having fun, but don't think for one minute that rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster doesn't take his job seriously.

"
He is a teenager," said Darrius Heyward-Bey. "We are not worried about him off the field. He likes to joke. But he is a student of the game. He is always taking notes. He knows how to turn it off and on when he needs to.

"He has me, Antonio (Brown), he has guys that take the job serious. He has that in him already. He knows when he is here it's time to work, when he has moments to joke around, he jokes. I am cool with it. He is one of the smartest young guys we have ever had in my four years here. He is going to mess up, he is a rookie, but he is a smart young kid."

To be fair, Smith-Schuster has put those teenage years behind. But he is young, at only 20 years old the youngest player in the NFL. He is enjoying life, enjoying playing a game he loves.

"I just love the game of football, and everything that comes with it," said Smith-Schuster.

It shows if you follow him on social media. One day he is taking you into his kitchen and cooking, another day dancing. He has his phone handy as he rides his bike from work, something he is doing while he takes driving lessons from Alejandro Villanueva. He is fun, he is playful, and it shows in his youthful exuberance.

"He is just like I was when I came in here," said Le'Veon Bell. "Real goofy, happy all of the time. He is having fun. He is a young kid. He is learning things. It's amazing when I see him, I see a lot of myself when I was younger. When we are playing games, Call of Duty, and he is like I was. You need a guy like that on your team."

He carries that same exuberance onto the field. Against the Vikings he scored his first NFL touchdown, on his first NFL reception. And he is already reminding teammates of a former Pro Bowl receiver.

"Anquan Boldin. That is how he is built," said Heyward-Bey. "He catches the ball like that too. Wait until we start getting him the rock."

It's not just his pass receiving that is being talked about right now. He threw a vicious block on Vikings safety Harrison Smith on a Bell run last week that definitely caught everyone's attention, and garnered plenty of oohs and aahs in the meeting room when watching the game film.

"I have never gotten anybody like that," said Heyward-Bey. "I am effective. I get the block done. But something like that. That was impressive. I told him bring his mouth piece and he listened."

Bell said he had to make an adjustment on the run because the block sent Smith flying.

"That was a crazy run block," said Bell. "He kind of surprised me. I saw him coming across me. He kind of knocked the guy over. He knocked him into the hole I was going to. I had to adjust where I was going.

"You need a guy like JuJu in there. You need a player like that. I am glad he is making that mark and showing people what he is about. He is a guy who can do it all in a game. His run blocking can help our game be more dynamic."

For him, though, it's just part of the job, and nothing new, as it was a strength of his while at USC as well.

"I think it's part of my game," said Smith-Schuster. "It's what I bring to the table, to this offense. I am willing to go down there and block for my guys. I was huge on blocking in college. I brought it here. I just showcased what I had."

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