Linebacker Ryan Shazier hasn’t played football since late 2017 due to his continued recovery from a spinal injury, but he insists he’s not done for good. Some are amazed that Shazier has even been able to walk again and he’s determined to play football, but it has now been confirmed that it won’t be in the 2019 season. While he won’t be on the field and playing, the Pittsburgh Steelers still plan on having a role for him on the roster.
If anything, Shazier’s return to NFL as a player won’t happen until at least the 2020 season. That is an understanding that he and the Steelers have together, and it’s one that is respected by both sides.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert is at the NFL Combine this week and he was asked about Shazier’s status. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that even though Shazier will not be playing at all this season, he will be a part of the organization as he continues his rehab and improvement.
“He knows that. 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.”
The Steelers have made it clear that they want Ryan Shazier as a member of the organization in the future as well as now.
Steelers plan to have Ryan Shazier on roster "in some form or fashion" https://t.co/MKqFAFZYF1— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) February 28, 2019
The contract status of Shazier is still up in the air as the NFL is still attempting to determine how to work things out with his injury. In 2018, Shazier received $8.718 million as part of his contract option with the Steelers, and the team was able to convert the majority of that into a signing bonus.
Now, the Steelers have to figure out how to handle things with Shazier as his current contract expires March 13 which is the start of the new league year. If he signs a new one with the team, he will count as a player on the official roster number and against the salary cap.
Colbert has had Shazier help out in player development last year and he’s worked with some of the younger players as well. Still, with his contract expiring, the Steelers will need to look at other ways of working things out.
“It’s a unique situation. 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.”
Ryan Shazier is an inspiration to people around the world as he suffered a scary spinal injury and is already on his way back onto the football field. His return to the sport won’t happen in 2019, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have a spot for him on the roster in some way or another.