Ryan Shazier will remain a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the reasons go far beyond football. The Steelers announced his contract will be tolled into the 2019 season in an effort to keep him employed by the organization.
Shazier will eventually be placed on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. While this means his returning to the playing field is still a year away, if it ever happens, keeping Shazier assists in his recovery process. He will be paid a salary reflective of his years of service in the NFL. This figure is reported to be around $805,000, per The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly. Most importantly, Shazier will continue to accrue seasons toward his NFL players’ pension and his medical insurance will continue to be the same coverage active NFL players receive.
“We will continue to support Ryan’s efforts to return to play,” said General Manager Kevin Colbert in a statement released by the Steelers. “Although he won’t be able to help us on the field in 2019, his leadership, insight, and emotional support have always been very valuable to us, and we look forward to his contributions in our pursuit of a championship,” added Colbert.
Fans, even those of rival teams, immediately took to social media to praise the class of the Steelers upon hearing the Shazier news. This is a welcome change for a franchise that’s been wrapped up in drama for months.
Shazier suffered a serious injuring on Dec. 4, 2017 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He underwent spinal stabilization surgery but has been progressively recovering ever since.
Steelers Announce 2020 Preseason Schedule
The Steelers have announced dates and times for their 2020 Preseason schedule.
Pittsburgh will start the year early in Canton, taking on the Dallas Cowboys in the annual Hall of Fame game. This will be the Steelers’ seventh appearance.
The Hall of Fame game will kickoff Thursday, Aug. 6 at 8 p.m. on NBC, shown locally on WPXI-TV.
The team will then return to Pittsburgh for a two-game home stand against NFC South foes.
Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will come to town on Friday, Aug. 14, a primetime matchup at 7:30 p.m. on CBS/KDKA-TV.
Next, another home game for the Steelers, this time against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Aug. 23. Kickoff is at 8 p.m. on FOX/WPGH-TV.
The Steelers will close out their preseason slate with a pair of road contests.
First, a date with a familiar face, as they take on Le’Veon Bell and the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Friday, Aug. 28.
Pittsburgh will close out the preseason schedule on Thursday, Sept. 3 in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers.
Both games are at 7:30 p.m. on CBS/KDKA-TV.
The Steelers went 3-1 in the preseason last year, with their only loss coming in the finale, also against the Panthers.
Thursday, Aug. 6, 8 p.m. vs. Dallas Cowboys at Canton, Ohio
Friday, Aug. 14, 7:30 p.m. vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, Aug. 23, 8 p.m. vs. New Orleans Saints
Friday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. at New York Jets
Thursday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m. at Carolina Panthers
Monday, Sept. 14, 7:15 p.m. at New York Giants
Sunday, Sept. 20, 1 p.m. vs. Denver Broncos
Sunday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m. vs. Houston Texans
Sunday, Oct. 4, 1 p.m. at Tennessee Titans
Sunday, Oct. 11, 1 p.m. vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, Oct. 18, 1 p.m. vs. Cleveland Browns
Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m. at Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Nov. 1 BYE WEEK
Sunday, Nov. 8, 4:25 p.m. at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m. vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Nov. 22, 1 p.m. at Jacksonville Jaguars
Thursday, Nov. 26, 8:20 p.m. vs. Baltimore Ravens
Sunday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. vs. Washington Redskins
Sunday, Dec. 13, 8:20 p.m. at Buffalo Bills
Sunday, Dec. 21, 8:15 p.m. at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m. vs. Indianapolis Colts
Sunday, Jan. 3, 1 p.m. at Cleveland Browns
Steelers Announces Jerseys Numbers for Rookies and Free Agents
The Steelers have announced jersey numbers for the rookies and free agents they added this off-season.
Wide receiver Chase Claypool already revealed on his Twitter last week he would be wearing No. 11, but the team announced Wednesday that outside linebacker Alex Highsmith will wear No. 56.
The Steelers made a splash this off-season adding a tight end Eric Ebron, who will stick with his No. 85 jersey he wore with the Colts. They also beefed up the offensive line by signing Stefen Wisniewski. He will also stick with the number he has held his entire career, No. 61.
The pair of Maryland Terrapins selected in the 2020 NFL Draft — Anthony McFarland Jr. and Antoine Brooks Jr. — will wear No. 26 and 25, respectively.
Continuing with the theme of Steelers rookies, fourth round guard Kevin Dotson has chosen No. 69.
Seventh round nose tackle Carlos Davis will wear No. 73.
Steelers Exercise T.J. Watt’s 5th Year Option
The Steelers have exercised the fifth-year option on the contract of outside linebacker T.J. Watt, the team announced on Tuesday.
Watt, 25, is set to enter his fourth year with the Steelers this fall after joining the team as a first-round draft pick out of Wisconsin in 2017.
All first-round rookie contracts come with a fifth-year option. After exercising the option on Watt, he will be with the Steelers through at least the end of the 2021 season. The exact salary figures for 2017 draft class options has not yet been released.
The Steelers previously exercised their fifth-year option for 2015 first-round pick, linebacker Bud Dupree in advance of the 2018 season. They declined to extend the contract of 2016 first-round pick, cornerback Artie Burns this offseason, and he signed with the Chicago Bears in free agency.
Watt has started 48 of 49 games for the Steeles since he was drafted. In 2018, he led the NFL with eight forced fumbles and also set career highs in sacks (14.5), tackles for loss (14), passes defended (eight), fumbles recovered (four), interceptions (two) and quarterback hits (35). He was named to his second Pro Bowl and was selected as a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career.
Watt was one of several Steelers players that were set to become a free agent following the end of the 2020 season, along with Dupree, defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, cornerback Joe Haden, running back James Conner, wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and tackles Matt Feiler and Alejandro Villanueva, among others.