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'I got a little tired': Ryan Shazier explains the Steelers four-time interception celebration

Chris Adamski
| Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, 10:09 a.m.
Steelers defensive players celebrate cornerback Mike Hilton's interception against the Titans in the first quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers defensive players celebrate cornerback Mike Hilton's interception against the Titans in the first quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.

When Ryan Shazier conceived the Steelers defense's newest post-interception celebration, he never factored in how winded it could make him.

"I got a little tired today," the linebacker said in the locker room after the Steelers' 40-17 victory against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

Shazier couldn't have been the only Steelers' defensive player feeling fatigued. After all, they victimized Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota for four interceptions, the most in a game for the Steelers in more than 20 years (Nov. 7, 1997).

That's a lot of celebrating – particularly on three days' rest. And especially when this particular celebration involves gathering as many defensive teammates together in one spot to pose for a group photo.

After each interception, that meant a wild sprint to one end of the field for a handful of defensive players eager to take part in the revelry. Some came off the bench. Other times, they had to run more than 50 yards downfield into the end zone.

"Every time somebody makes a play, it don't matter how far we are, we go into the end zone," Shazier said.

Interceptions by Mike Hilton (first quarter) and Robert Golden and Sean Davis (both, fourth quarter) had members of the Steelers' defense gather in the north (closed-ended) end zone, where photographers – both credentialed professionals and fans on their smartphones – snapped away.

Coty Sensabaugh's interception in the second quarter led to many members of the defense gathering near the south end zone. That time, it appeared that one media photographer, in particular, was unintentionally chosen to take the perfect picture.

Thursday's celebratory theatrics came four days after the Steelers unveiled the group-photo concept in Indianapolis. But with the team on the road and with their intentions not yet know, the poses weren't intended for, well, actual photos.

Instead, with the players standing in the end zone facing toward the field, it was nickel cornerback Mike Hilton who mimed photography.

"Last week we took it – and everybody got pictures of our backs," Shazier said. "And so then today we just made sure that everybody knew what we were doing; when we made a play we felt like it was a photo shoot out there… It's fine, because that's something the whole group can be part of."

Originally, the whole idea conceived by Shazier was that the celebration was only supposed to be used for defensive touchdowns. But on Sunday when Shazier intercepted Jacoby Brissett inside the Colts' 10 yard-line, the locale made it easier to pull off. (The Steelers scored three plays later anyway).

"(The initial plan was) if somebody gets a defensive touchdown, we were going to all run in the tunnel, and somebody would act like we are taking pictures of each other," Shazier said. "And we knew the crowd and the media would take pictures of us taking pictures of us.

"But (instead) we just got into the end zone. And it's been fun ever since."

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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