Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier won?t play again this season.
Yet he remains very much a part of the team even after injuring his spine against Cincinnati last month.
Shazier attended practice on Wednesday for the first time since undergoing spine stabilization surgery on Dec. 6.
Shazier posted a photo on Instagram from the team?s indoor training facility as Pittsburgh prepared to host Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs. Shazier is pictured in a wheelchair wearing sweatpants and a Steelers jacket Jalen Ramsey Jersey Black , a visit that gave his teammates a needed jolt.
?It was awesome to see him,? guard Ramon Foster said. ?Everybody is worried but him and it proves that he?s as strong as it gets.?
The extent of Shazier?s injury has not been released. In his Instagram post, he said his visit to the facility was ?a first down? in his recovery. Shazier wrote he has been ?making strides? over the past month but added he is ?far from done.? The 25-year-old says he is ?working harder than ever? to get back.
The Steelers host the Jaguars on Sunday and the winner will advance to the AFC title game. Shazier is helping his team prepare. Defensive end Cam Heyward said Shazier is helping break down film like a scout, an extension of his role as the defensive play caller.
?He was the quarterback of the defense,? outside linebacker Bud Dupree. ?He was the person who knew things were coming before the play was snapped. He helps us out a lot too, even while he is in the hospital.?
Updates on Shazier?s condition have been sparse, though his father Vernon said in a TV interview last week he believes Shazier will play again. Not that it matters to his teammates. For now, Shazier?s presence is merely enough.
?It?s amazing to see and just to have the attitude he has after all he?s been through man, it?s pretty impressive,? guard David DeCastro. ?I don?t know if I?d be able to do the same.?
CLEVELAND BROWNS (0-16)
OPEN CAMP: July 26, Berea, Ohio
LAST YEAR: Browns hit new low ? and that?s saying something ? by joining 2008 Detroit Lions in infamy as only teams to go winless in 16-game schedule. Nothing went right. Decision to start rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer backfired as he led NFL with 22 interceptions. Browns were better than their record but consistently found way to lose. Team suffered huge blow when perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas tore triceps in Week 7 and missed remainder of season. General manager Sashi Brown was fired in December.
IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: GM John Dorsey, offensive coordinator Todd Haley, QB Tyrod Taylor 49ers Cassius Marsh Jersey , WR Jarvis Landry, rookie QB Baker Mayfield, LB Mychal Kendricks, QB Drew Stanton, RB Carlos Hyde, DB Damarious Randall, rookie CB Denzel Ward, rookie RB Nick Chubb, rookie OL Austin Corbett.
IMPORTANT LOSSES: OT Joe Thomas, RB Isaiah Crowell, QB DeShone Kizer, DT Danny Shelton, CB James McCourty, CB Jamar Taylor.
CAMP NEEDS: Coach Hue Jackson has spent offseason touting Taylor Josh Malone Jersey , who led Buffalo to playoffs last year, as Week 1 starter. But things could change if No. 1 overall pick Mayfield shows he?s ready. Plan is to bring him along slowly, but when have things ever gone as planned for Browns? Loss of Thomas leaves enormous hole that may take time to fill. RT Shon Coleman will get first crack, but there are other options, including Greg Robinson, former No. 2 overall pick by Rams who has been bust.
EXPECTATIONS: Owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam stuck with Jackson despite 1-31 record over two seasons. He?s lightened his load by turning offense over to Haley, who spent past six seasons running Pittsburgh?s high-powered attack. Taylor gives Browns seasoned, proven QB who could stabilize position, but Jackson will feel heat to play Mayfield. Browns will be under more national scrutiny as featured team for HBO?s ?Hard Knocks.? WR Josh Gordon has been on best behavior after years of suspensions. If he can stay clean and play alongside Landry, Browns could have one of league?s most potent passing games. DE Myles Garrett had solid rookie season, looking to have monster second year.