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Steelers rookies bring fun to children's hospital with 'JuJu On That Beat' and cornhole

PITTSBURGH -- JuJu Smith-Schuster and his new friend Malik had already tore the hospital up with their moves, but the cameras wanted more, so Smith-Schuster microwaved more hype.

Smith-Schuster played the "JuJu On That Beat" clip on his phone and handed it to a cameraman. He pointed to two cameras, waited for the beat and hopped on it. Malik gladly follows, his IV chords not the least bit a hindrance.

"Don't stop, hey! Don't stop, hey!" Smith-Schuster said with each step.

"My personality is to bring out the best in people and have fun," said the second-round pick after the dance routine.

On Monday, the Pittsburgh Children's Hospital of UPMC welcomed 19 Pittsburgh Steelers rookies to hang out with patients. The result was 90 minutes of board games, Madden, coloring, autographs, fidget spinners, high-fives and a lengthy game of cornhole.

Running back James Conner is a winner in life after beating Hodgkin Lymphoma, starring at Pitt and getting drafted in the third round by the Steelers. But on Monday he took an L from a patient who kept drilling 2s and 3s on the cornhole board. Conner was down 19-16, and that was before missing at least one more shot.

Across the way, fifth-round cornerback Brian Allen was urging a toddler to throw the bags onto a cornhole board with authority, and fourth-round quarterback Josh Dobbs shared about 50 high-fives with two kids after finishing a game of Sorry!

The objective is easy: Lift spirits.

"The littlest smile means the world for them. The feeling is priceless," Conner said.

Conner's story resonates with those overcoming illness, and at least one patient told him as much. But in these settings, Conner prefers to accentuate the stories of others by asking questions about their lives.

"Today's about them," Conner said. "I've had enough of that."

That attitude helps excite the children, according to UPMC child life specialist Kathi Exler. Patients tried to rush down to the common area to see the players -- who awaited with black-and-gold fidget spinners -- but ultimately had to wait on nurses to guide them.

Exler noticed many of the players couldn't stop smiling.

"It makes our kids happy," Exler said. "They post pictures on their Facebook pages and they brag that they got to meet those rookies before anybody else did."

The rookies head to work for their first session of OTAs on Tuesday. The public won't be allowed to watch those practices.

But many Steelers rookies take pride in being accessible to fans whenever possible.

Smith-Schuster knows that's what he wanted from athletes when he was a kid.

"To be around these kids who are fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, for us to have that much power as a player on the team to give back to the community, that's great," Smith-Schuster said.