Ryan Shazier Will Miss 2018 Season for Steelers with Spine Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2018

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) during warm ups before an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday that linebacker Ryan Shazier will miss the entire 2018 season, according to NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.

Shazier suffered a spinal injury while making a hit in a December game against the Cincinnati Bengals and subsequently underwent spinal stabilization surgery.

He missed the remainder of the 2017 season, including Pittsburgh's playoff loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Feb. 4 that Shazier had regained movement in his legs and was on a "regular walking routine" after getting released from the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute.

Shazier recently expressed his desire to return to the field despite suffering a catastrophic injury.

Appearing on teammate Roosevelt Nix's podcast last week (h/t ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler), Shazier said, "I've gotta get back, bro."

Shazier added: "I really feel I'm the best linebacker ever. I just have to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I'm saying?"

The 25-year-old Shazier was selected by Pittsburgh with the No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft out of Ohio State.

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He became an instant impact player, and by 2016, Shazier was a Pro Bowler.

During the 2016 campaign, Shazier racked up 87 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions as the heart and soul of Pittsburgh's defense.

In 12 games last season before the injury, Shazier had 89 tackles and three picks.

Since Sean Spence is set to hit free agency, L.J. Fort and Tyler Matakevich may be in line to battle for a starting inside linebacker spot alongside Vince Williams in 2018 unless the Steelers address the position in free agency or the draft.