Due to a knee injury suffered early on in the Pittsburgh Steelers Week 3 road loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, linebacker Ryan Shazier will unfortunately miss the team’s Week 4 Sunday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs. This will mark the 12th regular season game that Shazier has missed out of a possible 36 during his career and as a result of that, questions are sure to resurface concerning his durability.
In the 24 regular season games that Shazier has played in so far during his career, he’s been electric at times and has average nearly 6 total tackles a game. Additionally, while he has missed 11 regular season games so far during his career, he’s still ranked third on the team when it comes to total tackles that have resulted in either no gain or a loss dating back to his 2014 rookie season.
While other factors and injuries to other players have certainly played a role in it, the Steelers are 6-5 in the 11 regular season games that Shazier has missed so far during his career. In games that Shazier has played in, the Steelers are 17-7.
Last Sunday against the Eagles, Shazier aggravated a right MCL injury and while he was able to return to the game, he only played 33 total defensive snaps. With him unable to practice any this past week, you have to wonder at this point if more missed games after Sunday night are forthcoming as he’s never missed just one game when sidelined by injuries previously.
Being as Shazier was drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Steelers will need to decide after the 2016 season is over whether or not to pick up his 2018 fifth-year option. If he can’t stay on the field once he returns from his latest knee injury, the Steelers will certainly have a tough decision to make come that time and especially if he continues to only be able to play in two-thirds of their regular season games every year.
To put all of this into a better perspective, Shazier has played just 1,074 regular season defensive snaps since he was drafted by the Steelers and that’s only 46.8% of all defensive snaps the team has had so far dating back to 2014.