Chase Claypool A Steelers' Trade For Julio? ... I Would Love It!!!

NEVER TOO STACKED
TMZSports.com

There ARE enough balls to go around for Julio Jones in Pittsburgh ... so says Chase Claypool, who tells TMZ Sports he'd LOVE it if the Steelers traded for the superstar WR!

"I would love him in Pittsburgh!" Claypool said outside The Farm in Beverly Hills this week.

Of course, Pittsburgh would have to get creative with its salary cap ... and it'd have to offer up a LOT to get Julio from Atlanta, but Claypool made it clear to us, there'd be no fight in the Pittsburgh receiver room if Jones was acquired.

Despite an uber-talented WR roster that includes Chase, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Washington ... Claypool said he'd still welcome Julio with open arms.

"We're stacked," Claypool said. "But, you can never get too many superstars."

As we previously reported, Jones wants out of Atlanta ... even telling Shannon Sharpe on live television this week that his days as a Falcon are done.

BYE-BYE FALCONS
FS1

Atlanta has been reportedly shopping him around ... but it's unclear if Pittsburgh is a true frontrunner to land him.

One thing Chase says he knows for sure is that if Julio does come on board ... Jones will be a fan of his new QB -- with Claypool telling us Ben Roethlisberger is still his "G.O.A.T."

Your move, Arthur Blank.

Steelers' Najee Harris Hosts Party At Homeless Shelter ... Before NFL Draft

Before Najee Harris’ life changed with his big NFL moment Thursday night, the rookie revisited a homeless shelter he and his family lived in years ago ... and hosted a draft party!!

But, the 23-year-old star running back out of Alabama wasn’t just there to say hello -- Harris decided to give back in a big way by providing food for all the current residents!!

Harris transformed the Greater Richmond Interfaith Program (GRIP) homeless shelter in Richmond, CA into an awesome party scene ... decking the place out in football decor and bringing positive vibes to all in attendance.

The Pittsburgh Steelers draftee explained his decision to return to his roots on a monumental day ... telling reporters, "There was a time I needed a helping hand. They gave us an opportunity to get back on our feet. So it is my job to give back."

FYI -- GRIP housed Najee, his sister and his parents for years while the future 24th pick was in middle school.

Eventually, the family would move to Antioch, Calif., where Harris burst onto the high school football scene ... catching the national spotlight and keen eye of Nick Saban. Harris committed to the Crimson Tide in 2015, and the rest is history.

Harris caught up with reporter Kylen Mills outside of GRIP before the draft, and he told her just how special the return meant for him and his family.

"It was really emotional for my mom. Almost as if she was crying, in a way, because we have a lot of memories here. That was a time in my life when it was really low."

Harris is looking forward to hitting the ground running in Pittsburgh. No matter what the future holds in the black and yellow, it is clear he'll have no problem remembering his roots.

Steelers' Justin Layne Arrest Video ... DB Said In Cop Car 'I Got One Blunt!!!'

PULLED OVER

TMZ Sports has obtained police video from Justin Layne's arrest Friday ... and the Steelers DB can be heard in the back of a squad car saying, "They acting like I got some drugs -- I got one blunt!"

The 23-year-old -- who was a Steelers third-round pick in 2019 -- was pulled over after cops say he was doing 89 MPH in a 60 MPH zone in his 2020 Dodge Charger.

During the stop, officers put him in the back of a patrol car while they searched his ride ... and that's when Layne got on the phone with some of his friends to talk them through his situation.

While on the line ... Layne can be heard telling one friend, "I'm nervous as f***, bro. They about to get me."

Layne continued, "They might get me for the pistol, bro." He later told his friend that he had a blunt in the car.

Cops say they eventually found weed residue, a grinder and a loaded Glock 9mm pistol during their search of his car ... and released photos of their findings to TMZ Sports.

Layne was ultimately arrested and booked on a felony charge of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

What's interesting ... Layne mentioned twice during the stop he was an NFL player -- and even at one point told an officer he played for the Steelers.

For their part, the Steelers said they were aware of the situation and were gathering more information.

Layne has played in 26 games for Pittsburgh since 2019 ... tallying 25 combined tackles.

Steelers' Justin Layne Arrested ... Cops Say CB Illegally Had Loaded Gun In Car

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne was arrested Friday ... after cops say he illegally had a loaded firearm in his car during a traffic stop in Ohio.

Officials for Willoughby Hills Police Dept. say Layne was pulled over at around 1:20 AM after an officer clocked him going 89 MPH in a 60 MPH zone in his 2020 Dodge Charger.

Police say during the stop, they discovered Layne had a suspended driver's license and a warrant for his arrest stemming from a failure to appear in court for a previous traffic violation.

Officers claim they also smelled an odor of marijuana in the car -- and after searching the vehicle, they say they found a loaded Glock 9mm pistol in the center console.

Cops say Layne did NOT have a licensed concealed carry permit, so they arrested him and booked him on a charge of felony improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

Cops noted in police documents 23-year-old Layne "was cooperative during the entire process."

In the docs, officers also say patrol squad camera footage caught Layne saying on phone calls "it's over, I'm goin down" and "they acting like I got some drugs, I got one blunt" on his ride to the station.

The Steelers say they are aware of the incident and are gathering information.

Layne was picked by the Steelers in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft ... and has played in 26 games for Pittsburgh in his two-year career.

Steelers Owner Art Rooney Meets with Ben Roethlisberger We Both Want To Get a Deal Done!!!

Ben Roethlisberger's run in Pittsburgh may not be over yet -- the QB met with team owner Art Rooney on Tuesday and both sides insist they want to get a deal done to bring the QB back for an 18th season.

"Ben Roethlisberger and I met yesterday morning and we had a productive meeting, Rooney said in a statement.

"Ben assured me that he is committed to coming back to help us win, and I told Ben that we would like to have him back to help us win a championship."

So, what's the problem? Ben's contract -- it's too damn big.

Under his current deal, 39-year-old Roethlisberger is set to make around $19 mil in salary and bonuses in 2021 ... but the team would take a $41 million salary-cap hit.

The Steelers are reportedly about $30 million over the cap, according to ProFootballTalk, which means they can't bring Ben back without restructuring his contract to lower the cap hit.

"We both understand the next step is to work out Ben’s contract situation," Rooney said.

Look, it's good news for Ben that his team wants him back -- that's a positive thing -- but it's worth noting that Rooney is NOT guaranteeing they'll get a deal done.

The big question ... is Ben willing to take less money or restructure his deal to less favorable terms in order to remain with the Steelers, the only team he's ever played for?

We'll find out soon enough ...

JuJu Smith-Schuster Gunning To Be Steeler For Life ... 'I Want My Legacy In Pittsburgh'

STEELER FOR LIFE
TMZSports.com

If JuJu Smith-Schuster had it his way, he would NOT leave Pittsburgh in free agency this offseason ... the star receiver tells TMZ Sports he wants to be a Steeler for life!

"At the end of the day, I want to have my legacy in Pittsburgh and retire there," the 24-year-old says. "I don't want to leave."

Smith-Schuster's rookie contract is expiring this offseason ... and he's expected to test the open market, even if the Steelers make him a preliminary offer.

The wideout could command HUGE dollars from teams like the Jets, Patriots or Dolphins ... but he made it clear to us while shopping out in L.A. this week he's hoping the Steelers come close to matching a big deal from other teams.

In fact, when we asked if he could see himself in a Chargers or Rams jersey in 2021 ... JuJu told us straight up, "Not right now. Until I actually get let go, other than that, I'm Pittsburgh for life."

Smith-Schuster started his career with a bang with the Black and Yellow ... recording over 2,300 yards and 14 TDs in his 1st two seasons.

But, injuries, diminished play, a public feud with former teammate Antonio Brown and controversy surrounding pregame dancing TikToks have most believing Pittsburgh will let him walk in the offseason.

As for if his QB could be out in Pitt as well ... Smith-Schuster says he's hopeful both he and 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger find a way to return to the Steelers.

So much so, JuJu tells us he says he's been urging the quarterback and the team to give him FOUR more years!

NFL's Mason Rudolph IG Official With Genie Bouchard ... 'My Valentine'

It's official -- Mason Rudolph and tennis star Genie Bouchard are an item ... and we know this, 'cause the NFL QB made the announcement Sunday with a steamy IG pic of the two in Cabo!

As we previously reported, Bouchard and Rudolph began dating in the fall ... but the two had carefully avoided any public appearances or social media shoutouts.

That all changed Sunday, though ... when 25-year-old Rudolph posted a smokin'-hot flick of the couple in swimsuits on a beach in Mexico.

"My valentine," Rudolph captioned the photo, adding a heart emoji.

Interestingly, 26-year-old Bouchard did NOT post Rudolph ... though she did confirm her Cabo vacay was a "quick vday getaway."

A few of Rudolph's Steelers teammates congratulated the quarterback on the relationship ... with Eric Ebron, Zach Banner and Terrell Edmunds all showing love.

Of course, Bouchard and Rudolph are no strangers to high-profile relationships ... Rudolph was just spotted last year with "Bachelor" star Hannah Ann, while Bouchard famously went on a date with a guy after losing a Super Bowl bet.

Seems this one might stick for the two, though ... and, if it means more pics from the couple like Sunday's, we're here for all of it!

Steelers' Ike Taylor Roethlisberger Should Retire ... QB's Setting Team Back

STEP UP YOUR GAME
TMZSports.com

Ben Roethlisberger should call it a career ... so says his former teammate Ike Taylor, who tells TMZ Sports the QB NOT retiring this offseason could hurt the team for years down the road.

Ike kept it real with us when breaking down Ben's future ... saying while the 38-year-old has more than earned the right to play in Pittsburgh next season, he's not sure if it's the greatest move for the franchise.

"You're setting them back a year or two or three [with a comeback]," Taylor says of the Steelers. "The reason why I think you're setting them back is because you've seen the progression in Lamar Jackson, Joe Burrow -- before he got hurt -- and Baker Mayfield."

"So, we're talking about three young quarterbacks in one division. Who you going to pick last?"

Taylor says the answer to that question is Ben ... which is why he wants to see Roethlisberger ride off into the sunset this offseason so Pittsburgh can find a QB who can keep up with the rest of the AFC North's young guns.

"Ain't nothing wrong with shutting that thing down," Taylor says. "It's hard for a lot of people to shut it down. It's hard."

Don't get it twisted, though ... Taylor had tremendous praise for Ben, saying the guy's career was second to none.

And, if Ben truly is willing to take a massive pay cut to stay under center in the black and gold ... Ike says the Steelers don't have much of a choice other than to bring him back.

But, Taylor did advise Ben that he's got to take a page out of Tom Brady's book -- and get his body right for next season so he can have success as a pocket passer.

There's more ... Ike also spoke with us about another one of his former teammates, Antonio Brown, and says it wouldn't surprise him if AB won Super Bowl MVP honors on Sunday.

GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
TMZSports.com

Steelers' Ike Taylor Piles On Browns After JuJu Shade ... 'This Ain't No Damn Rivalry'

THERE'S NO RIVALRY
TMZSports.com

If JuJu Smith-Schuster's Browns shade wasn't enough to fire up Cleveland ... here's EVEN MORE bulletin board material for the Dawg Pound -- courtesy of ex-Steelers player Ike Taylor!!

TMZ Sports spoke with the former Pittsburgh DB this week ... and when he was explaining Smith-Schuster's "nameless, gray faces" comments, Taylor said JuJu wasn't exactly wrong!

"Well, first of all, there is no rivalry," Taylor said of the Browns vs. Steelers. "You know, the only rivalry when it comes down to Pittsburgh is the Baltimore Ravens. That's the only rivalry we look at."

"We never looked at Cleveland, we never looked at Cincinnati as no rivalry. That's just how it was."

Don't get it twisted, Taylor still has a ton of respect for Cleveland -- he praised Baker Mayfield for his progress -- but he says there's definitely a big brother little brother relationship between the Steelers and Browns.

"It's not in a disrespectful way," Taylor tells us. "It's just if you're a Pittsburgh Steeler, that's how you look at other teams."

If you missed it, Smith-Schuster spoke with reporters on Thursday and said he doesn't look at the Browns any differently this season compared to years' past when they were awful.

"The Browns is the Browns," JuJu said.

Kickoff for the playoff game is 5:15 p.m. PT in Pittsburgh. Getcha popcorn ready!

JuJu Smith-Schuster Shades The Hell Out Of Browns Before Game ... 'Nameless, Gray Faces'

If the Steelers thought JuJu Smith-Schuster's TikTokin' was a distraction -- wait 'til they get a load of this ...

Pittsburgh's flamboyant wideout just provided some SERIOUS bulletin board material for the Cleveland Browns ahead of their playoff matchup this weekend ... throwing major shade at the team's AFC North rival!!

Smith-Schuster's comments all went down in a meeting with the media on Thursday ... when a reporter asked if the 24-year-old had seen anything different out of the Browns this year.

"I think they’re still the same Browns teams I play every year,” Smith-Schuster said. "I think they’re nameless, gray faces. They have a couple good players on their team, but, at the end of the day, I don’t know. The Browns is the Browns.”

JuJu added, "I'm just happy we're playing them again Sunday."

SHAAAAAAAAAADEEEE!!!

Of course, Smith-Schuster is no stranger to providing motivation for opposing teams ... to close out the season, the receiver made it a point to TikTok dance on opponents' logos before games.

Turns out, other teams used that as fuel ... especially the Bills and Bengals, who whooped the Steelers and griped about Smith-Schuster's dancing afterward.

Unclear if JuJu's comments this week will have a similar impact on the Browns ... but we do know the Sunday Pittsburgh-Cleveland matchup just got a whole helluva lot more interesting!!!

Kevin Stefanski Browns H.C. Tests Positive For COVID ... Out For Playoff Game

9:07 AM PT -- 3-time Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio and wide reviver KhaDarel Hodge are the 2 players who tested positive for COVID, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.

Bitonio is the longest-tenured Browns player, who has suffered through a winless season in 2017 and 1-win season in 2016.

In fact, he received a game ball from Stefanski after Cleveland's win over Pittsburgh on Sunday ... as a nod to making the playoffs for the first time in his career.

Terrible news for the Cleveland Browns -- the team will be without head coach Kevin Stefanski for its first playoff game in 18 years ... he just tested positive for coronavirus.

And he's not the only one ... 2 players and 2 assistant coaches have also tested positive for COVID-19 -- and the team has shut down its facility while contact tracing is underway.

The timing couldn't be worse for the Orange & Brown -- which is set to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card playoff game on Sunday.

Losing Stefanski is a major blow -- he's a candidate for NFL's Coach of the Year, leading the Browns to an impressive 11-5 record, the team's best season in forever.

The Browns announced special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will serve as acting head coach on Sunday ... and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt will take over play-calling duties.

"The team will continue to consult with the league and medical experts to determine the appropriate next steps as the health and safety of our players, coaches, staff and the entire community remains our highest priority," the team said in a statement.

No word on the health status of the team's top stars -- including Baker Mayfield, Myles Garrett, Jarvis Landry and others. Hopefully, they're okay and will be ready to play.

Remember, Cleveland was forced to play without its top 4 wide receivers and several other key players in Week 16 against the pathetic New York Jets ... with the Browns taking an "L" as a result of its decimated roster.

The huge game against the Steelers is still set to go down Sunday night ... so fingers crossed it doesn't get any worse.

Myles Garrett Daps Up Mason Rudolph After Game ... Helmet Attack Forgiven?!?

Hatchet buried?!

Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph shared a handshake and exchanged pleasantries in a post-game moment Sunday -- something no one expected to happen roughly 13 months after the infamous helmet attack incident!

Remember, it was in Nov. 2019 that Garrett swung a helmet at Rudolph's head during a nationally televised Browns vs. Steelers game -- with some calling for the Browns star to be criminally prosecuted.

The situation got super nasty between the NFL players -- Garrett claimed Rudolph had used the n-word on the field, something Rudolph had vehemently denied. Ultimately, Myles was hit with a 6-game suspension that ended his 2019 season.

The two teams clashed again on Sunday night -- with Rudolph filling in at QB for Ben Roethlisberger ... and the big question, is there still bad blood???

No helmet swinging this time around as the Browns beat the Steelers -- but after the game, cameras caught Myles and Mason dapping each other up.

"Myles came over and said, 'good game,' postgame and that's all it was," Rudolph said. "I told him 'good luck' and that I had a lot of respect for him."

Added Garrett, "I just told him good game -- he played a hell of a game -- and we’ll see you all in a week," Garrett said. "He played tough. He had 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns. He played very well, and he kept them in it to the very end."

MUTUAL RESPECT
Cleveland Browns / Pittsburgh Steelers

"Had to show a little praise that he did well in this game and he was able to make some big plays for them."

So, friends? Not exactly ... but the situation is 1000000 times better than it was last year.

And, get this ... Myles and Mason will have a chance to continue their chat on Sunday when the Browns face the Steelers AGAIN in the AFC Wild Card game.

Beers after the game?

Bruce Smith T.J. Watt Can Catch My Sack Record ... 'The 1 We Want To Watch'

SETTING A GOLDEN STANDARD
TMZSports.com

Could T.J. Watt one day be the NFL's all-time leader in sacks???

Bruce Smith -- the current sack record-holder -- certainly thinks so ... telling TMZ Sports the Pittsburgh Steelers star is "the one we want to watch now because he's young."

Smith has held the all-time sacks mark since 2003, when he logged his 200th career QB takedown ... and nobody has come close to the number since.

Guys like J.J. Watt and Von Miller -- two of the best of this generation -- barely have over 100, and their careers are winding down.

So, we had to ask ... does Smith think anybody will be able to get to his mark eventually??

Smith says it's certainly possible -- telling us the rules of the game will change enough for players to have a shot -- but he says everything has to break the right way for a player to hit 200.

"You have to understand there has to be a level of consistency that will last for 14, 15 years," Bruce says. "So, there are a lot of factors that go against you from being able to, heck, even reach 130 sacks or 140 sacks."

"The number one factor is health," Smith added.

Bruce says guys like Myles Garrett and Aaron Donald could do it ... but the Buffalo Bills legend believes T.J. Watt might possibly have the most realistic shot.

FYI -- T.J. has 47.5 sacks through his first 3-plus seasons ... which Smith says he's impressed by.

As for if Smith WANTS to see his record broken ... check out the clip, Bruce tells us he'd certainly prefer it if it stayed his!!!

Shannon Sharpe Clowns JuJu Smith-Schuster You Can't TikTok And Lose!!!

Shannon Sharpe rubbed some serious salt into the Steelers' wounds Monday night ... clowning the hell out of JuJu Smith-Schuster for TikToking and then losing to the Bengals!!!

If you haven't seen it, the Pittsburgh star wideout has gained fame for doing TikTok dances on opponents' logos over the past few weeks.

But, seemingly every time he does it -- his team gets whooped ... and Monday night was no different.

Just a couple hours after JuJu grooved to Popp Hunna's "Adderall (Corvette Corvette)" at Cincy's midfield ... PIT took one of the worst losses of the NFL season this year, falling 27-17 to the 3-10-1 Bengals.

And, to make matters worse for JuJu, he got LIT UP during the game -- fumbling a ball that ended up costing the Steelers big time.

Enter Sharpe ... who was so clearly delighted to see JuJu stink it up after dancing on the logo -- he took to Twitter to straight-up clown the 24-year-old!!

"Ju Ju might need a new car," Sharpe said. "That corvette, corvette isn’t fast enough to get away anymore."

Sharpe later added, "Sent corvette,corvette to the body shop tonite. Don’t TikTok on the logo."

To make matters even worse for JuJu? The Bengals got in on the dancing shade too!!!

Smith-Schuster has been adamant he won't change his pregame routine despite the negative attention ... but, man, giving it a break for at least ONE week seems like a good idea here.

Larry Csonka Celebrates Steelers' Loss W/ Stogie & Booze ... Dolphins' Mark Lives On!

TIME TO CELEBRATE

Larry Csonka celebrated the Steelers' loss like a BOSS on Monday ... breaking out a stogie and booze after Washington helped ensure the 1972 Dolphins would remain the NFL's only undefeated team for at least one more season.

"Tonight, I'm a Washington fan!" the legendary Miami running back said as he puffed his cigar.

Of course, Csonka and other Fins players from the '72 team that recorded the NFL's only perfect season have made it an annual tradition to throw a little party every time the league's last unbeaten loses.

Usually, it's a petty tweet or somebody poppin' bubbly ... but Csonka really went the extra mile this year!!!

The 73-year-old -- who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 -- stood in front of his TV while Washington wrapped up the win and he sipped his booze and gave out a cackle.

"Whohoooooo!!!!" Csonka wrote as WFT was sealing the 23-17 victory over Pitt. "Burn that clock out!"

So far, no other public celebrations from Csonka's old teammates yet ... but we're pretty sure it won't be too much longer until we hear from Mercury Morris.

Congrats on making it one more year, guys!

Steelers' Stephon Tuitt 'Pad The Stats' Against Ravens 'Should Be An Easy One'

Steelers d-lineman, Stephon Tuitt, just gave his teammates some advice that'll make fantasy owners salivate -- run up the score against the Ravens, 'cause this one's gonna be a cakewalk!!

Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore is minutes from kickoff after being delayed THREE times due to a COVID-19 outbreak ... which left several key players -- including Lamar Jackson -- sidelined for Wednesday's matchup.

Tuitt -- who is also missing the game after being placed on the COVID-19/reserve list over the weekend -- made sure his guys got some encouragement before kickoff ... and threw some shade at the Ravens in the process.

"Good luck to the boys today," Tuitt said on IG. "Pad the stats - should be an easy one. Eyeing my return for next week against Washington where I should catch up. I say it because I believe it."

Look -- being without Jackson, Mark Ingram, J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Willie Snead and Calais Campbell (JUST TO NAME A FEW!!!) is gonna be tough for the Ravens ... but they might have just gotten the bulletin board material they needed to pull off the win.

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