JuJu Smith-Schuster explains his illegal block penalty and the inspiration behind it


“It’s funny, I was watching Hines Ward, his blocking videos, before the game today.”

JuJu Smith-Schuster (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
  • Bill Belichick compared Micah Parsons to Lawrence Taylor

  • Bill Belichick actually answered a question about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce

JuJu Smith-Schuster had more penalty yards than receiving yards during the Patriots 15-10 win over the Jets on Sunday.

He made one catch for five yards. He was also whistled for a 10-yard illegal blocking penalty for a hit on Jets linebacker CJ Mosley.

The veteran receiver told NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry that he was trying to make something happen. He tried to make a block for Mike Gesicki, and it didn’t turn out the way it was supposed to.

“I was just trying to make a play to help my boys,” Smith-Schuster said. “I wasn’t thinking. I keep forgetting there’s a new rule.”

Smith-Schuster, who began his career in Pittsburgh in 2017, said told Perry that he was watching highlights of another Steelers receiver before the game.

“It’s funny, I was watching Hines Ward, his blocking videos, before the game today,” Smith-Schuster said. “I saw that, and I saw an opportunity, and I took advantage of it. Yeah, it wasn’t smart by me to do that. Different era.”

Ward is part of the reason the rules got changed to usher in this “different era” of football. The former Super Bowl MVP had a reputation as one of the league’s fiercest blockers. One of the more memorable blocks of Ward’s career came in 2008, when he leveled Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers with a blindside hit during a regular-season game.

Rivers broke his jaw on the play, causing him to miss the final nine games of his rookie season. The hit prompted a rule change, informally known as the Hines Ward rule, that outlawed high, blindside hits, according to ESPN.

Smith-Schuster, who is the Patriots’ highest-paid receiver was touted as a potential No. 1 option heading into the season. He has 10 catches for 66 yards through his first three games with New England.