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#1 18.02.2019 08:34:03

liny195
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At least one portion of Ryan Shazier's daily routine hasn't changed

much from the previous time the Pittsburgh Steelers were preparing to face Cincinnati http://www.authenticspittsburghsteelers … rry-jersey , even if the rest of the injured linebacker's life is hardly the same.Shazier still makes his way to the club's practice facility around 7 a.m. most days. Any teammate willing to drop by Shazier's usual spot can feel free to pull out a notebook and start jotting Shazier's thoughts while he serves as both peer and professor."He's just trying to find little nitpick things," Pittsburgh rookie safety Terrell Edmunds said.It is Shazier's way of staying connected to the game even as he continues his long and inspiring recovery from that frightening moment last December when the Pro Bowler lowered his helmet to hit Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone late in the first quarter, a play that ended with Shazier clutching his lower back in agony while players knelt around him in prayer and Paul Brown Stadium feel eerily silent.Ten months later, the sight of Shazier being taken off the field on a stretcher before being placed in an ambulance remains fresh as the Steelers (2-2-1) brace themselves for their annual visit to Cincinnati (4-1) on Sunday."It was just a really weird feeling after that happened," Pittsburgh linebacker L.J. Fort said. "You'd make a good play but nobody was really jumping around or was excited or anything like that, so it was really sobering moment and brought to the forefront that football is not the most important thing in life."Playing amid a mixture of fear for their friend and uncertainty over Shazier's status, the Steelers rallied for a 23-20 victory .Asked how they managed to recover emotionally in time to put together a stirring rally, they're still not sure. In the immediate aftermath of Shazier's injury there was only chaos and confusion.Outside linebacker Bud Dupree admitted he and inside linebacker Vince Williams 鈥?two of Shazier's closest friends on the team 鈥?were under the impression Shazier had been blindsided by a member of the Bengals. The two spent the rest of the first half looking for revenge."We were just walking around trying (to hit) the first person we see," Dupree said. "We weren't worried about football. We wanted to take up for our brother."In the end, it's Shazier who has taken up for his teammates.Though the 26-year-old remains open to the possibility of playing again 鈥?he's able to get around the practice field without assistance these days and his practice clothes remain hanging in his locker much as they have been before he got hurt 鈥?he's intent on helping in other ways.His mere presence provides an emotional lift, but Shazier is intent on being something far beyond an avatar for inspiration. He's become a go-between of sorts between the coaching staff and the defense. He can cut through the clutter and deliver some "real talk" when necessary.During last Sunday's 41-17 romp over Atlanta, Shazier sat on the bench with a tablet in hand. After every series the inside linebackers would crowd around him looking for instruction and insight. Shazier would offer words of encouragement when necessary or tips on how to avoid mistakes."Since he's not playing, his mental part of the game is so great," Dupree said. "He shares a lot of stuff with us. He lets us know stuff ahead of time before the coaches even tell us. We already know it. It keeps us on our toes."And it keeps Shazier engaged. There remains no timetable for when he will make a decision on whether returning to play is feasible. There's so much going on in his life 鈥?from his physical recovery to his new role with the team to becoming a father for a second time 鈥?it hardly matters.Football remains an integral part of his plan no matter how his physical recovery goes. When asked if he believes Shazier could become an effective coach whenever his playing career ends http://www.authenticspittsburghsteelers … ell-jersey , linebacker Tyler Matakevich nods enthusiastically."You look at him, what he's been through, how he's handled it combined with his love for the game and his mind for the game, it's amazing," Matakevich said. "It hasn't changed him. He's been the same guy since the day I got here."And in a way, Pittsburgh is counting on it. Shazier will be back on the turf in Cincinnati with the rest of the team on Sunday afternoon as the Steelers look for their first winning streak of the season. When the defense runs onto the field, he'll linger behind, a feeling that will probably never truly feel normal.Yet if this is the best way for him to contribute, he'll take it. So will the teammates who have come to rely on him in so many ways."The only time he really doesn't come is when he's tired from rehab," Dupree said. "You see him on the sideline. He's active at practice. In the meetings. Never sleeping. Attacking every day like he's still here."NOTES: S Morgan Burnett (groin), LB L.J. Fort (ankle) and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (ankle) did not practice on Wednesday. ... LB Vince Williams (hamstring) and Edmunds (calf) were full participants.NFL fans can’t be critical of both the preseason and the idea of an 18-game regular season When I was a little kid in the ‘80s, NFL preseason games were like professional wrestling matches — I basically knew they were both fake, but I still wanted to suspend my disbelief. I’d watch Steelers’ exhibition games (excuse me, Mr. Commissioner http://www.authenticspittsburghsteelers … ter-jersey , preseason games) with the same fervor I reserved for the regular season. It didn’t matter that backups, has-beens and never-weres were doing most of the heavy lifting, I was all-in for August football.In fact, my favorite preseason game of all time was the fourth and final one of the 1988 exhibition campaign, when Chuck Noll played every single one of his A-list superstars —we’re talking Bubby Brister, David Little and the whole lot of them for the entirety of regulation and overtime — in a thrilling victory over the Saints at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The win pushed the Steelers’ preseason record to 3-1 which, as it turned out, would represent 60 percent of their actual win-total during the regular season (that probably should have been a clue to the 16-year-old me that NFL preseason action was the exact opposite of NBA action—not fantastic). By the ‘90s, with the help of age and wisdom — not to mention, the advent of NFL free agency, a salary cap and restrictions on stashing players on IR — I began to realize just how meaningless NFL preseason action really was. It didn’t help that the superstars played less and less, and that the (say it with me) all-important fourth preseason game slowly morphed into the all-important first half of the third preseason game. Thanks to the very vocal social media, along with the sleepless 24/7 news-cycle Youth Jon Bostic Jersey , recent summers have been filled with an endless number of voices “exposing” preseason football as a farce. And those exposed seats at stadiums all across the NFL, including those yellow ones atHeinz Field, don’t help either. People complain about the expense of attending preseason football games (totally true), and what can be done about it. There’s only one thing that can be done about it:Decrease the preseason by one or two games. After all, with most key starters seeing just limited action, how valuable is preseason football? If you eliminate those two games, you can make up for it by adding an extra week to the training camp schedule, thus allowing the veterans and youngsters to hone their tackling techniques and their route-running skills. And, to that, I say, “yeah — right.” Sure, you can eliminate two preseason games, but it will come at the price of two more regular-season games. Say what? You hate that too? You say the 16-game schedule is perfect as is because you can divide it up into four little quarters of the season? I agree totally but neither of us is an NFL owner, and NFL owners look at things a little differently than we do. While we see preseason football as the farce that it totally is http://www.steelersauthorizedshops.com/ … ger-jersey , NFL owners see preseason football as a way to line their coffers with that all-important revenue. There might be a huge difference between Tevin Jones and Antonio Brown, but August revenue spends just the same as January revenue. Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones made news recently by suggesting the league adopt an 18-game regular season as a means to shorten the preseason farce — oh, and to cut down on things like concussions to its players — this despite them being exposed to two more games worth of hitting and tackling per year. That second part is totally ludicrous, right? Of course, it is. But it’s equally ludicrous to think the NFL will ever give up two games’ worth of revenue. The league has been using a 20-game model since at least the 1960’s, when there were six preseason games, followed by 14 regular season games. Then, in 1978, the current 16-game regular season was implemented, along with a four-game preseason.That 20-game model ain’t going anywhere, ever. We can cry — we can threaten to boycott stuff — we can cite head injuries until we’re blue in the face but nothing is going to get the owners to move away from a 20-game revenue model. Therefore, you can either accept the current format of four preseason games — games that aren’t worth much to you beyond an unofficial tax for the right to own season tickets — or you’ll have to eventually accept an 18-game regular season. Either way, the NFL’s 20-game revenue model (and “revenue” is the most important word here) is here to stay. Custom Arizona Cardinals Jerseys

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