Like so many elements of 2020, the COVID pandemic has temporarily disrupted Ryan Shazier’s current role with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But to Kevin Colbert, Shazier will always be part of the black and gold. Joining local media on a Zoom call Wednesday, Colbert said COVID restrictions means Shazier isn’t working in an official capacity with the team but that he’ll always have a role – and a home – in Pittsburgh.
“We spoke to Ryan prior to moving into training camp,” Colbert said via the team website. “Ryan doesn’t have an official role with the Steelers as we are right now. And he’s very understanding of the current situation we have to deal with. We only have a certain number of spots that are available in the Tier 1, Tier 2, or even Tier 3 groupings. Ryan understands he won’t be part of those groupings as we’re limited to people inside the organization. Ryan will always be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in an official or unofficial capacity.”
COVID protocol has teams limited to the number of staff they can have in the building. And for now, that’s unfortunately forced the team to alter Shazier’s role in the organization.
Since his spinal injury in 2017, he’s served as a coach and scout with the team. Whether that was attending Pro Days, helping in the meeting room, and being an overall mentor to the young guys drafted into the system. Last year, it was a common sight to see him and first round rookie Devin Bush walking together at training camp. Unfortunately, Shazier won’t be around at camp this season.
“But he also understands we have to deal with current, 2020 business which first and foremost is this training camp. And he knows that while he’s not part of it or in the building, he’s always going to be apart of us.”
As I’m sure you well know, Shazier’s recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. A testament to the job his doctors, physical therapists, and Shazier himself have done to regain a normal life again. It also shows the strength shown by friends, family, and the Steelers’ organization to help him through some incredibly difficult years. Recently, Shazier shared a clip of him trying his hand at boxing.
Though Shazier hasn’t officially closed the door on returning to football, the team placed him on the Reserve/Retired list during the offseason. A 1st round pick in 2014, Shazier’s started 41 games, recording 299 tackles with seven sacks and seven interceptions.