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Ryan Shazier to have role with Steelers “one way or the other”

Ryan Shazier has made progress since having spinal stabilization surgery in the wake of his injury in a Monday night game against the Bengals last season and showed some of it at a Penguins game this week when he stood to acknowledge a standing ovation from the crowd.

Shazier’s progress doesn’t include walking without assistance, however, and that stands as a much bigger immediate goal than anything having to do with playing football again. Whether Shazier’s progress reaches that point or not, Steelers president Art Rooney II said on Wednesday that he’ll have a place with the only team he’s played for in the professional ranks.

“I expect Ryan is going to be here one way or the other and have a role with the team one way or the other in 2018, for sure,” Rooney said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The Steelers picked up Shazier’s fifth-year option for 2018 and his $8.7 million salary is guaranteed for injury, so he’ll be on the books even if he’s not on the field.