Ryan Shazier provided one of the most memorable moments when he walked on stage at the NFL draft and announced the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round draft pick.
The injured linebacker has even more reason to smile this week. The Steelers decided to give Shazier, who suffered a serious neck injury making a tackle last season against the Cincinnati Bengals, a significant financial advance.
Shazier getting more than $8 million up front
The Steelers converted Shazier’s base salary to a signing bonus according to ESPN’s Field Yates, meaning he gets the money right now. There is no salary-cap benefit to the Steelers, and the salary was guaranteed already. It’s just a kind gesture from the Steelers for their player who suffered a horrendous injury.
The converted bonus is worth $8.26 million according to Yates. It’s a move that makes the Steelers look good too, furthering their reputation as a top organization in the NFL.
Shazier won’t play this season
The Steelers said at the combine that Shazier will not play in 2018. The Steelers made a procedural move earlier this week, putting Shazier on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
Pittsburgh’s defense wasn’t the same last season without Shazier, who was in the middle of an excellent season, and the Steelers didn’t draft a linebacker as expected. The pick Shazier announced, safety Terrell Edmunds, will help fill the void left by Shazier, however.
Shazier continues to make progress
Seeing Shazier walk on the stage, even if it was slow and measured, was a great sight. When Shazier was on the turf at Cincinnati, unable to move his lower extremities, there was a lot of fear about his future.
While Shazier’s playing future is obviously in doubt, he has maintained that he still wants to play. Clearly he has a long way to go but the progress he has made is a good sign.
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