PITTSBURGH — It was a play like any other that sent Seattle Seahawks linebacker Darrell Taylor to the turn at Heinz Field on Monday, a rushing play where Taylor crashed through a block and into Steelers running back Najee Harris and a teammate.
In the immediate aftermath, it was clear that it was not like any other play. Taylor lay supine on the field, unmoving, with teammates and opponents calling to the sideline for training staffs.
For those veterans on Pittsburgh, the seemingly harmless play ending in a serious situation immediately drew flashbacks to the injury to Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier in 2017.
“I remember like it was yesterday when Ryan went down in Cincinnati,” Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt said. “Those are always very scary and real moments in football.”
After a lengthy period on the turf, Taylor was placed on a stretcher and carted off the field, where he was taken by ambulance to a hospital. The news on that front was positive, with Seattle head coach Pete Carroll reporting after the game that Taylor is moving about, CT scans are clear and that he will fly back to Seattle with the team.
But before anyone knew anything more about Taylor’s status than the cart was heading up the ramp, the Steelers offense was put back on the field in a difficult situation. The team was driving with just over three minutes to play and the game tied, and looked to be close to putting the game away with an offensive score.
“It’s really tough going through it, and with Ryan, it brought back a lot of memories,” Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger acknowledged. “It’s hard to refocus after something like that. I wish him nothing but the best. Our prayers are going to him and his family. A lot of praying was goin on on the field, and we’re going to continue to pray for him.”
Fortunately for Taylor, it appears that he avoided as significant of an injury as Shazier’s, which left him wheelchair-bound for an extended period of time and ended his career. The moment served as a reminder to all that the game of football can be taken away in an instant.
“It’s tough when you see a player go down like that,” wide receiver Diontae Johnson said. “At the end of the day, we are all human. You know, we play as brothers. I say we’re brothers even though we’re on a different team.”