The Pittsburgh Steelers have a new favorite son, and he used to wear No. 50 for the black and gold every week during the football season.
Yes, you guessed it, Ryan Shazier.
Since his horrific spinal injury in December of 2017 in Cincinnati, Shazier’s surgery, recovery and rehabilitation has been on the forefront of everyone’s mind. But throughout the past year Shazier’s progress has gone from struggling to walk, to reportedly jogging.
Last year Shazier was under contract due to the the team picking up in 5th year option, which is guaranteed under injury, but he enters 2019 as a free agent. Will the Steelers bring him back, only to store him on the PUP list?
Shazier knows he isn’t going to play in 2019, but the Steelers want to make sure he stays within the organization.
“He knows that,” Colbert said at the NFL Scouting Combine via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I can’t really speak for him, but I know he still wants to try to play football. We’ll support him. There’s no ceiling on what we would ever say to him as far as him wanting to do that. That’s up to him.
“He continues to rehab. He continues to improve.”
His desire to play again is one thing, how the NFL is going to handle the parameters of his new contract is another.
Colbert said the Steelers are still waiting to hear from the NFL on the legalities of a contract for Shazier, who is in unprecedented territory. Shazier received $8.718 million from the Steelers last year as part of the fifth-year contract option that the Steelers exercised in the spring of 2017. The team converted all but $458,000 of that contract into a signing bonus for Shazier last summer.
Plain and simple this is a very unique situation for both the Steelers, Shazier and the National Football League.
“It’s a unique situation,” Colbert said. “Ryan will be part of the football roster in some form or fashion in 2019. We have to figure out what is legal by NFL means. We are in the process of doing that.”
“If we can find a way that he can do both, and I think we can, we have to get clarification and verification from the league that this will be good,” Colbert said.
In other words, the Steelers want to make sure Shazier stays in his NFL home, and it is just a matter of time until they do that.
In the meantime, enjoy the video below of Shazier playing with his eldest son at the UPMC Rooney Sports Performance Complex.