PITTSBURGH -- Who better to ease a rookie's transition from USC to the Pittsburgh Steelers than Troy Polamalu?
Last weekend, JuJu Smith-Schuster, the 62nd overall pick in April's NFL draft, was one of three Steelers attending the NFL Players Association's Rookie Premiere, presented by Panini America. ESPN editor Jovan Buha caught up with Smith-Schuster and asked him whether he got any surprise messages from a current or former NFL player after being drafted.
Apparently Polamalu -- a two-time All-American safety at USC and a future Pro Football Hall of Famer after 12 seasons with the Steelers -- reached out to Smith-Schuster recently.
"That one kind of surprised me," Smith-Schuster said. "He went to USC, played at Pittsburgh and he did really great for himself."
What was Polamalu's message?
"Anything you need, I'm out in Pittsburgh, let me now," Smith-Schuster said. "He's always there to help."
Smith-Schuster already was eager to uphold the USC tradition in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have drafted 14 Trojans in the franchise's history, none more successful than Polamalu and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann, the 21st overall pick in 1974. Smith-Schuster also has a relationship with Swann, now USC's athletic director.
"I will do anything possible to bring the Steelers back to the Super Bowl, whether that’s on special teams, being a backup or a role player, anything that it takes," Smith-Schuster said shortly after the draft.