JuJu Smith-Schuster Sounds Genuinely Thrilled To Be With Patriots

'Honestly, I love it'


May 2, 2023

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots in recent years have devolved into a middling, drama-filled mess. But don’t tell that to JuJu Smith-Schuster.

New England’s marquee offseason addition met with reporters Tuesday for the first time since signing a three-year deal with the Patriots in mid-March. And for nearly 12 minutes, the 26-year-old receiver said all the right things, which is par for the course for most Patriots players, especially those new to the franchise.

The big difference: It felt like Smith-Schuster really meant what he was saying. That’s an admittedly subjective take, but Smith Schuster’s tone and general enthusiasm about being in New England seemed genuine.

(We’d recommend clicking here to watch a full video of the news conference.)

“Honestly, it’s been going really great,” Smith-Schuster said about his first month-plus in Foxboro. “Just getting adjusted to the coaches, the players. And just being here, being a Patriot.”

After signing with the Patriots, Smith-Schuster cited the presence of head coach Bill Belichick as his top reason for joining New England. He reiterated that point Tuesday afternoon.

“Honestly, Bill,” Smith-Schuster said when asked the same question. “I think being at a place where — he’s a great head coach. And as far as how everything else goes and seems, I just felt like I fit here.”

Smith-Schuster then was asked a standard question about acclimating to the “Patriot Way.” He used it as an opportunity to push back against preconceived notions about the culture in New England.

“Bro, honestly, people always (say) things like, ‘Oh, it’s the Patriots, they’re this or that way,'” Smith-Schuster said in what felt like a truly candid moment. “But just being here, it’s… honestly, I love it. I can’t express more than what I feel, just being here and being part of this team. … We have something special here, and I think it’s gonna show this year.”

He added: “It’s just the guys. The group of guys that we have who all are just here to work and just to get better. And not only that, but everyone is on the same page. The coaches, the players, the staff. It’s a great feeling.”

Smith-Schuster went on to praise all things Patriots. He loves bowling on Wednesdays with his fellow receivers (Kendrick Bourne apparently is the Pete Weber of the group) and believes the “sky’s the limit” for quarterback Mac Jones. He sounded especially impressed with the new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and other “really, really smart” coaches.

“The playbook is amazing, honestly,” Smith-Schuster said. “It’s great. (O’Brien) is great. He’s a great coach. He makes everyone feel welcomed, excited. I’m just happy to be a part of the team, but also ready to work.”

Smith-Schuster also is fired up about being involved in the Boston sports scene. He was in attendance for Monday night’s Celtics playoff loss — womp womp — and is looking forward to similarly intense experiences at Gillette Stadium.

“Bro, the fan base here is nuts,” Smith-Schuster said. “I can’t wait to see how it is for camp or for the season. … Definitely a place where the fan base is nuts. … Never been a part of a city like this.”

Of course, it’s easy to say these kinds of things in May. It’s another thing to keep that positivity when your team is struggling and facing an onslaught of negativity and criticism.

But, for now, Smith-Schuster is loving life in Foxboro and looking forward to what’s next.

“Every day I’m growing here,” he said. “And that’s what I love about being here. … I feel like I’m back in college or school again.”

Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
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