The Steelers are returning to Paul Brown Stadium this week for the first time since Week 13 of last season when Ryan Shazier suffered his devastating injury. Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about the emotions of returning to Cincinnati during his weekly press conference.
“We’ll kind of know that when we get there. I’m sure there will be in some form or fashion.”
Tomlin was also asked about the challenges of continuing last year’s game after the injury occurred.
“That wasn’t about football. That was somebody we care deeply about that got injured very severely. It wasn’t about utilizing it as some motivational tactic or anything of that nature.”
Tomlin also addressed what it was like to move forward in order to secure a victory.
“It was a very difficult thing to get through. We had a job to do in terms of winning the game, but obviously our hearts and minds were with (Ryan).”
When asked how the team was able to get through the game after Shazier was injured, Tomlin had a very simple answer.
“I don’t know.”
It remains to be seen if the emotions of their last visit will affect the Steelers’ play on Sunday. But watching Ryan Shazier walk to the sidelines with his teammates this week will mean a lot to players and fans, regardless of team affiliation. Last year’s game aside, the Steelers and Bengals don’t need any extra motivation, or bad blood, to get them fired up for the upcoming game.
Vontaze Burfict will be back on the field after serving his four-game suspension, JuJu Smith-Schuster will be in the lineup, and there is so much history between these two teams emotions will always run high. Oh yeah, there’s also this thing called the divisional race where the 4-1 Bengals are looking down at the 2-2-1 Steelers.
A lot can change on Sunday, in a lot of ways.