Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has started a foundation to help individuals with spinal cord injuries.
The Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation will “provide support, resources and funding to those with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers.”
“My team and I have been working behind the scenes to find ways to continue to push forward progress for the spinal cord community,” Shazier said on Twitter Tuesday. “One step at a time we will change how people view spinal injuries.”
I’m truly excited to announce the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation. My team and I have been working behind the scenes to find ways to continue to push forward progress for the spinal cord community. One step at a time we will change how people view spinal injuries. pic.twitter.com/kpQtkx0KjB— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) November 23, 2020
Shazier’s promising NFL career ended prematurely three years ago when he suffered his own spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017. He officially announced his retirement from football earlier this year, but has made tremendous strides in his recovery.
Selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Shazier finished his career with 299 total tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and seven interceptions. He was twice selected to the Pro Bowl.
Former Steelers coaches and teammates shared their congratulations to Shazier on the start of his non-profit Tuesday, including head coach Mike Tomlin and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Congratulations @ryanshazier on the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation (https://t.co/RZfcqnnIBe)! Wishing you & your foundation all the success in the world! #Steelers pic.twitter.com/CumpCgH1PU— BigBen7.com (@_BigBen7) November 24, 2020
JuJu Smith-Schuster Hints at Free Agent Destinations During Twitch Session
This offseason was always going to lead to changes for the Pittsburgh Steelers, because thee contract situation for several key members of the roster was always going to make that the case.
The pandemic-fueled salary cap constraints made that worse and then the way the Steelers entered the off-season after an embarrassing loss in the AFC Wild Card Round to the Cleveland Browns will likely lead to even more changes and has put fans on edge, wondering where their beloved franchise is headed in the future.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of the team’s 19 unrestricted free agents, and despite previously saying he wished to remain in Pittsburgh, the 24-year-old receiver opened up further speculation that he’s aware his free agency may lead him out of Pittsburgh while taking questions from fans during a live Twitch session on Friday night.
Users are able to wear different skins during Twitch sessions, and Smith-Schuster decided to have some fun by incorporating skins of the uniforms of the Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints.
That comes just a few days after former the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that he could be looking to play in a bigger market in an effort to strengthen his personal brand, which was then quickly disputed by Smith-Schuster in a tweet.
With the possibility of the Steelers moving on from Smith-Schuster very likely, both because the team having so much to worry about contractually this offseason and the fact the front office has a proven track record of developing receivers, it’s possible the 2020 season ended a four-year career in Pittsburgh for the fun loving, often controversial young receiver.
If the 2020 season was Smith-Schuster’s last with the Steelers, he finished with 97 receptions and a career-high nine receiving touchdowns, but that only totaled 831 yards, mostly due to a career-low 8.6 yards per catch.
Odds: Will the Steelers Draft a Quarterback in the First Round?
Will the Pittsburgh Steelers select a quarterback in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft?
Oddsmakers don’t think so.
The Steelers are 5/2 (+250) to draft a quarterback in the first round this April and 1/4 (-400) to go in a different direction, courtesy of BetOnline.
Pittsburgh owns the No. 24 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, and could go in a number of directions to address their mounting needs, including quarterback, running back and offensive line.
While the Steelers will miss out on top flight quarterback prospects like Clemson’ Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, who are expected to be drafted in the top three, they still could have some enticing quarterback options at No. 24.
A pair of Heisman Trophy finalists in Alabama’s Mac Jones and Florida’s Kyle Trask could both be available for the Steelers to select late first round.
Jones is coming off a national championship and 41 touchdown pass season for the Crimson Tide, while Trask led the country with 43 touchdown passes for the Gators.
The speculation Pittsburgh will select a quarterback comes as current signal caller Ben Roethlisberger weighs retirement following his 17th season leading the team.
Roethlisberger will turn 39 on March 2, and has one year remaining on his current contract.
Steelers CB Joe Haden Updates Recovery from COVID-19
For some rare uplifting news concerning the Pittsburgh Steelers, veteran corner Joe Haden provided an update on Twitter about his positive case of COVID-19.
I’m completely fine also! I was Asymptotic only lost my sense of smell. Thank the Lord!
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) January 15, 2021
Haden makes it clear he’s feeling fine and not dealing with any symptoms. It appears he’s out of the woods and has successfully battled the virus. He did say he lost his sense of smell, which is a very common issue for many even weeks and months after battling the virus.
The 31-year-old was forced to sit out both the Steelers Week 17 game and Wild Card Round contest against his former team – the Cleveland Browns. Of course, the Steelers lost both games without Haden. While the Week 17 game was a game Haden, much like how other veterans were treated that week with Pittsburgh unable to obtain a bye in the playoffs, may have been inactive for anyway, he was certainly missed in the playoff game. Cleveland eliminated their rival by a score of 48-37, dominating the Steelers throughout most of the day.
Haden initially unveiled his displeasure and anger with the news he would have to miss the playoff game due to testing positive for COVID-19.
I’m so pissed and sad at the same time….. stay safe out here
— Joe Haden (@joehaden23) January 2, 2021