The NFL Draft was a range of emotions for Steelers second-round pick JuJu Smith-Schuster.
It started with a small stream of tears, and it ended with an ocean of cheers.
As the call came in from the Steelers, with Coach Mike Tomlin on the other end, Smith-Schuster couldn't hold in his emotions.
"It meant a lot to get that call. I had to work hard for it," said Smith-Schuster. "The waiting, not getting called on the first day. And the second day, when I finally got that, it was unbelievable. It really meant a lot, because I didn't get called earlier. When you have family behind you and they're waiting and waiting and you finally get the call, I was speechless."
Speechless, yes. But the tears spoke volumes. They started with his mother, Sammy Smith, but once he saw her, he had some too.
"I knew she was going to cry," he said. "As soon as I got the call, she started crying. It was just a great day. I had a little bit of tears. It's hard not to cry when your mom is crying. She was happy that I'm living my dream. She's been the support behind me since I was a kid."
The tears, though, soon changed to celebratory cheers. Smith-Schuster held his draft day party in Newport Beach, California, and after he got off the phone with Tomlin and the Steelers, he headed to the ocean. Literally. Smith-Schuster jumped into the ocean fully clothed in a custom suit, celebrating his selection by the Steelers with family members.
"The party was literally right next to the beach, 10 feet from the beach to the ocean," said Smith-Schuster. "Why not? You only get to do it one time, so live it up. I knew I was going to do it. I was just waiting to do it and it happened. "I just told everyone, 'If I get called today, I'm jumping in the ocean. I hope you all come with me.'"
Smith-Schuster, who grew up in Long Beach, California and attended USC, will have a little bit of weather shock to deal with during football season, adjusting to playing in the cold and snow. But he is ready for whatever challenges come his way. "I think it's just a great part of the experience," he said. "I think it will be a great experience to learn, not only in my football life, but just by living here. I've been in Los Angeles my whole life, so snow is new, but also good."
He said the only time he played in snow was when he was a kid playing in the Snoop Youth Football League, and has remained close with the league's founder, Steelers fan Snoop Dogg. "He's awesome," said Smith-Schuster. "He called me after I was drafted. He was just so excited, so it was pretty cool."He just said, 'I'm so happy for you. You worked so hard for everything.' And then he said, 'Remember when you get that jersey, put one to the side.' I told him I got him."