Last season, many people thought that Ryan Shazier might never walk again. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker suffered a horrible neck injury while making a tackle during a Monday-night game against the Cincinnati Bengals in December. Shazier lay on the ground unable to move his legs before being carted off the field. The injury looked so bad that after the game, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was given a police escort to the hospital to check on Shazier’s status.
Recently, Shazier provided a heartwarming moment when he walked onstage during the NFL draft to announce the Steelers’ first-round pick. And now the Steelers are pulling on the heartstrings: They have announced that they will be converting Shazier’s base salary into a signing bonus, meaning that he can have it up front, although Shazier won’t play this season and may never take the field again.
According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Shazier will get $8.26 million, although the linebacker has been placed on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.
Before the injury, as Yahoo! Sports noted, Shazier was having a great season.
During the recent draft, Shazier announced that the Steelers would be taking safety Terrell Edmunds in hopes of filing the void left by Shazier. While Shazier’s steps were slow and measured, it was a huge moment for the linebacker, who many believed might have to use a wheelchair. And get this: Shazier has maintained since the frightful collision that he still wants to play football again.
No word on how Shazier’s family feels, but I’m sure they’ll have something to say about this.