On Wednesday (June 8), Smith-Schuster acknowledged that a return to the Steel City outweighed offers from the Kansas City Chiefs and AFC North rival Baltimore Ravens.
"I'm looking at the bigger picture, going into next year," Smith-Schuster told ESPN's Brooke Pryor via NFL.com. "I already knew if I went to the Ravens, fans would've destroyed me. Going to the Chiefs, they have a great offense, playing with Tyreek [Hill] and Travis [Kelce], but I've got to do what's best for me. That's staying home."
Smith-Schuter, 24, acknowledged that the NFL's decreased salary cap led to accepting a one-year, $8 million deal to return to the Steelers this offseason, but hopes a rebound performance in 2021 will bring his value back up prior to the next offseason.
In April, Smith-Schuster told Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin that "it would've been K.C." if he had opted to sign elsewhere.
On Wednesday, the Pro Bowl receiver praised Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, but said his allegiance lies with Ben Roethlisberger and his Steelers coaches.
"Patrick Mahomes is a great QB, and he will be for the next decade, but I think it's a loyalty to my coaches and my quarterback," Smith-Schuster said.
Smith-Schuster stated prior to re-signing that Roethlisberger returning for his 18th season would play a role in his own decision. The former USC standout remains confident in his chemistry with the two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.
"I'm for sure [Ben's] security blanket, wherever I'm at on the field," Smith-Schuster said.