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Steelers' Vince Williams tells story on his connection with Ryan Shazier

Chris Adamski
| Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018, 11:45 a.m.
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams celebrates a sack with Ryan Shazier (50) against the Titans in the fourth quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Vince Williams celebrates a sack with Ryan Shazier (50) against the Titans in the fourth quarter Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 at Heinz Field.

Perhaps no Steelers teammate was more personally affected by the serious spinal injury to Ryan Shazier than Vince Williams.

Williams lined up next to Shazier this season as the pair of starting inside linebackers for an organization long known for its stellar linebackers. The two have been teammates since 2014 when Shazier was drafted. And when the Steelers took Shazier in the first round that year, it was purportedly to replace Williams, who stepped in as a rookie the prior season to start at inside linebacker after being a sixth-round pick.

Late Tuesday evening, Williams posted more than two dozen messages to his verified Twitter account conveying his feelings toward Shazier and how they have evolved since when he first met him.

Shazier is out for the season and has been getting around via a wheelchair since he was injured while making a tackle early during a Dec. 4 game at Cincinnati. Williams is wearing No. 50 on his helmet as a tribute; many players are wearing No. 50 t-shirts, and the hashtag #Shalieve has become a team rallying cry.

Read along with Williams (some tweets containing obscenities were omitted).

Then, Williams got into his story about his relationship with Shazier.

William's next tweet was that the Steelers drafting Shazier in the first round "hurt bad."

So Williams went off to Arizona for a weeks-long training gathering of Steelers linebackers, hosted by James Harrison ("Deebo"). But Williams was surprised to see Shazier working as hard as him.

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

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