The Pittsburgh Steelers are a family run organization and the Rooney’s take care of their own. When Ryan Shazier gave the ultimate sacrifice on the field of play for his team in 2017, it was unknown if he would be able to walk again. Since that moment, the Rooney’s have made sure that they will do everything they can to ensure Ryan and his family are taken care of. For the 2018 and 2019 seasons, Ryan has been rostered and placed on the Injured Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. During those years, Shazier not only received a split salary, but also enjoys the benefits of one more year added to his pension, and he receives the full medical benefits that all NFL players enjoy. Pension is important because the longer you are in the NFL, the more pension you receive when you ultimately retire.
Rehabbing from a spinal injury is a slow and expensive process. By retaining Shazier as a player, the Steelers have made sure not to put any medical costs on his family. He is continuing to get stronger and has been running and jumping. The same doctors that said he might not walk again are now praising his determination and stating he could play football again. Shazier’s back has been surgically repaired to the point that the same injury would have a lower chance of happening than it did before his injury.
If Shazier were to become a coach, he would first have to officially retire from the league. Any money paid to him would not count against the team’s salary cap, so that would be an extreme benefit to the capped strapped Steelers. By retiring, Ryan would lose the NFL players healthcare coverage, and would also stop accruing seasons toward his pension. For this season, the coaching option does not appear to be the route the Steelers wish to take.
So this year, if Ryan is again rostered, his veteran minimum will be close to $800,000. If he is again placed on IR/PUP, he will earn just under $500,000, would accrue another year of service towards his pension, and also be medically insured by the NFL. For a man whose dream is to become a Hall of Fame player, I for one am happy that the team I root for, is allowing that dream to continue for another year.
Would you retain Shazier as a player or coach? Do you think he will ever play for the Steelers again? Leave your comments below.