Steelers' Kevin Colbert says Ryan Shazier will not play in 2018
INDIANAPOLIS — Ryan Shazier's NFL career officially is on hold until after his contract with the Steelers expires following the 2018 season.
General manager Kevin Colbert confirmed Wednesday what long had been suspected: that Shazier, the two-time Pro Bowl linebacker, won't play next season because of his spinal cord injury.
“He knows that, and we know that,” Colbert said, speaking to reporters at the NFL Combine. “We're going to continue to support him in his recovery.”
Shazier, a former first-round pick, had his fifth-year contract option exercised by the Steelers in April. The move set Shazier's salary for 2018 at $8.7 million, and it is protected against injury. The Steelers, though, will have to account for the $8.7 million against their salary cap, and he will count against their 90-man offseason roster.
“Fortunately for Ryan, he's covered in that manner,” Colbert said. “He will be a part of our team, officially and really unofficially because he is still with us day-to-day as he rehabs. He involves himself with the the team and team issues so he can be a formidable member in 2018.”
Shazier has been confined to a wheelchair since he was released from the hospital in early February. He continues to rehabilitate his injury on an outpatient basis and, on several occasions in public, he has lifted himself up and stood. Shazier also is a daily visitor to the Steelers' practice complex on the South Side.
Shazier recently said on teammate Roosevelt Nix's podcast that he will resume his NFL career with a goal of reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.