When Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier had spinal surgery, it was clear that his season was over. Today, the Steelers made it official, moving him to Injured Reserve.
Before the surgery, there was hope that Shazier could come back by the playoffs. Quarterback Tommy Maddox had a similar injury and missed just two games. That was when it was thought that Shazier wouldn’t need surgery, however. When he did, things changed.
“Unfortunately Ryan will not be able to contribute on the field during the remainder of this season,” said Steelers President Art Rooney II, per Teresa Varley of the team’s official website. “However, even off the field Ryan will continue to be one of our team leaders. We know his spirit and positive outlook will help him to continue in his recovery, as well as serve as an inspiration to our team.”
The Steelers struggled in their first game without Shazier, giving up 38 points to the Baltimore Ravens. They still edged the Ravens, 39-38.
“I’m glad we could get the win for Shay,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “It was really tough. I went and saw Shay (last) Thursday after practice. Guys are starting to go visit him. When you walk in and see him and give him a hug, it makes you breathe a little easier. We love our brother and we are glad we got this win for him.”
That was a great win, and a much needed one, but they play a tough opponent with Tom Brady and the New England Patriots coming up at 4:25 EST on Sunday. That will be the real test of how well they can step up and what they’ll look like in the postseason without Shazier.