PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “Somebody stole my bike.”
With those words on Twitter last week, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster started a social media storm. His bike got its own Twitter page, the sports networks picked it up and ran with it, and JuJu’s teammates called for the bike’s immediate return.
Antonio Brown went on the NFL Network with the plea, “Whoever has JuJu’s bike please return it ASAP.” And, on Twitter, Brown offered two tickets to a Steelers home game for whoever returned the bike.
That same night, in Mt. Oliver, DJ, that’s how he wants to be known, bought the bike for $200. He considered it an expensive but good deal until he saw JuJu’s story come on the 11 o’clock news.
“I looked at the bike and I looked at the TV, and I looked at the bike and I looked at the TV, and I said, ‘Oh [expletive], that’s the bike I bought.”
He immediately called the Mt. Oliver Police and turned in the bike. He says he was not aware of any rewards being offered.
“The police came back to me and said there was a reward, and I said that’s not why I returned it, but when I heard it was tickets to a Steelers’ game, I was like, I wanted them tickets ’cause I’ve never been to a Steelers game in my life,” DJ said.
When DJ found out about the reward, he called KDKA’s John Shumway for information on how to collect. KDKA gave him the phone number for the Steelers’ offices on the South Side.
“I called and left two messages,” he says. His friends started giving him plenty of ribbing, “You taking me to the game, you taking me to the game, and I said, ‘I don’t have the tickets, Antonio Brown has not called me back.'”
With a week gone by and no word from the Steelers, DJ called KDKA back on Wednesday morning, asking for help. Since the police in Mt. Oliver and local business people had vouched for DJ’s honesty, KDKA started working on contacting Brown.
In the course of our conversation, DJ said the person who stole JuJu’s bike actually came back to Maxwell’s Pub with another stolen bike. As DJ recorded the pitch on his cell phone, the man pointed out the bike had new tires and was in great shape. DJ said he confronted him about the bike being stolen and ran him off.
The effort to contact Brown involved messaging his agent and contacting the Steelers’ media relations staff. With the team on a bye week, the players have spread to the four winds, but the team was able to contact Brown who vowed to fulfill his promise and provide the tickets for DJ’s first Steelers game sometime before the end of the season.
Primanti Bros. also offered a weeks’ worth of Primanti sandwiches to whoever returned the bike.
Ryan Wilkinson who handles marketing for Primanti Bros. said, “We’re ready to meet up with DJ and hand over his sandwiches. He’s absolutely earned them.”
Last week, after getting his bike back, KDKA asked JuJu if he would be reimbursing DJ the $200 he paid the thief?
Smith-Schuster replied, “I don’t mind paying back $200.”
Late Wednesday, the Steelers media staff contacted the rookie phenom who confirmed he will reimburse DJ, who responded, “I can spend that at the Steelers game.”