Ryan Shazier FaceTimes with Steelers from hospital bed after win
Ryan Shazier was at Heinz Field in every way Sunday except physically, but the Steelers made sure their injured teammate didn’t miss their postgame celebration.
After clinching the AFC North with a thrilling win over the rival Ravens, the Steelers presented Shazier with the game ball via FaceTime as he lay in his hospital bed.
“We gave that guy the game ball because we know that his heart is in it,” said defensive end Cam Heyward. “He deserves it.”
Shazier remains at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery on Wednesday. The linebacker had to be carted off the field during last week’s game against the Bengals after he drilled his helmet into receiver Josh Malone, which caused his neck to buckle and legs to go limp.
Shazier initially lost feeling in his lower body. The injury has ended the 25-year-old’s season and possibly his career.
But Shazier had plenty of reasons to smile Sunday night, when video emerged from his hospital room showing him tuning into the Steelers’ locker room via FaceTime with his family and fiancee, Michelle, at his side.
“We got a W today,” Shazier said in the video. “It got scary, but hey, we know how to pull it out, baby. Here we go, Steelers.”
“One, too, three, Shay!” the team cheered.
The support for Shazier, which swept the football world throughout last week with the hashtags “#Shalieve” and “PrayFor50,” united at Pittsburgh home stadium on Sunday.
Fifteen Steelers players received permission from the league to wear their custom cleats honoring Shazier throughout the game, while even more donned black T-shirts featuring No. 50 with a yellow circle around it before kickoff.
Fellow linebacker James Harrison warmed up with his shirt off in the cold, a tribute to Shazier’s famed pregame routine.
Ben Roethlisberger walked off the field after the 39-38 victory with Shazier’s jersey draped over this shoulder.
“We love our brother, and we wanted to get this win for him, and I’m glad we did,” Roethlisberger said, per ESPN.
The team has not provided any updates on Shazier’s medical status since his surgery.