On Monday, the Pittsburgh Steelers placed Ryan Shazier on the team’s Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform List. The decision means Shazier, who also spent 2018 on the PUP list, will not be able to suit up for the Steelers in 2019.
Shazier suffered a serious spine injury during Pittsburgh’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017 and has not returned to the field since. He serves as a source of inspiration for the franchise, and has continued to progress in his rehabilitation with the goal of ultimately returning to the field.
The injury immediately left the linebacker unable to walk, however, earlier this month Shazier posted a video himself completing a box jump.
When asked about Shazier, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said “We will continue to support Ryan’s efforts to return to play, although he won’t be able to help us on the field in 2019, his leadership, insight, and emotional support have always been very valuable to us, and we look forward to his contributions in our pursuit of a championship.”
Shazier spoke with reporters at the Super Bowl in January about his aspirations.
“I definitely want to play,” Shazier said. “I try to tell people at the end of the day, just because I got hurt, doesn’t mean I lost the love of the game of football. I love football so much. I just care about the game.
“I really feel like the game has taken me places I never expected to go. I am putting everything into it. I feel like I was the best linebacker in the league. I don’t want to leave that as my legacy. I feel like I have so much to show.”
Before the injury, Shazier was one of the top young linebackers in the NFL. A first-round pick out of Ohio State in 2014, Shazier has 303 tackles, seven sacks and seven interceptions in his four seasons (46 games) as a pro. Shazier was also twice named to the Pro Bowl (2016, 2017).
Shazier will make nearly $500,000 in 2019, according to NFL Network.