The Steelers officially placed Ryan Shazier on the reserve/physically unable to perform list for 2019 on Monday and will toll his contract into 2019. Last month, Pittsburgh announced its intentions to do so in a March team release.
Shazier played linebacker for four seasons with the Steelers, but suffered a serious spinal injury in a 2017 game against the Bengals which left him unable to walk. Shazier's contract was set to expire at the end of 2018, but the Steelers' decision will allow him to stay on NFL health insurance, accrue years on his pension and make minimum salary in 2019. Steelers owner Art Rooney II mentioned this possibility in January, and the Steelers have now made it official.
"We will continue to support Ryan’s efforts to return to play,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said in the statement. “Although he won’t be able to help us on the field in 2019, his leadership, insight, and emotional support have always been very valuable to us, and we look forward to his contributions in our pursuit of a championship.”
The Steelers linebacker has made substantial progress in the 15 months since the injury and plans to return to football at some point, according to an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. While he will not play in 2019, the Steelers' decision offers Shazier a chance to return to the field at some point.