We recently marked the passing of two years since Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier’s injury. Back in December of 2017, early in a primetime game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the two-time Pro Bowler suffered a severe spinal injury that temporarily left him paralyzed from the waist down.
What many people may forget is that he is still on the roster as a member of the team. For the past two seasons, the Steelers have kept him on the Physically Unable to Perform List as a player, which has allowed him to be involved in everything except for on-field participation.
Shazier is still motivated to return to the field one day. He has made remarkable progress over the course of the past two years, and his quest to get back to football one day doesn’t appear to be one he intends to let go of any time soon.
But in the meantime, he has been undertaking every opportunity that presents itself to him within football, and the Steelers have been generous in affording him the opportunities to learn about the game at every level. Among the roles he is serving at the moment is in being something of an assistant coach for Keith Butler’s unit.
“It’s always good to have somebody who’s played and been in the system, and Ryan probably knows what’s going to come out of my mouth before I say it”, he told reporters yesterday, via a transcript provided to us by the Steelers’ media department.
“He’s been around long enough to do that. So, it helps, I’m sure”, in the development of young players like Devin Bush. “Especially a guy who’s a young guy, and he’s just now getting in the league, to a guy who’s well respected around the league, who’s played and done a good job, and made the Pro Bowl, and stuff like that. Certainly, you’re going to listen to him”.
Earlier in the season, Bush, the Steelers’ 10th-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, talked about his relationship with Shazier and how the veteran has been very forthcoming and available for the Michigan product—the latter being, of course, from THE Ohio State University.
Whatever help Shazier has been providing has surely been paying off for Bush, who has the potential to make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He has 86 tackles, a sack, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and four fumble recoveries this season.
It’s not just the rookie for whom he has been an aide, of course. Shazier was the quarterback of the defense. He can be an asset to any position group, and I’m sure his input is welcome wherever he sees fit to provide it.