PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers' locker room is a mix of optimism and concern over Ryan Shazier's injury. One player said the lack of concrete updates on Shazier's spinal injury status beyond the fact that he's undergoing testing in a Cincinnati hospital makes more than a few Steelers uneasy about it all.
But the optimism comes from the select players who have spoken to Shazier over the past 24 hours, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, safety Mike Mitchell and linebacker Vince Williams. Several defensive players heard from Williams and Mitchell that Shazier is making progress and is staying positive.
And apparently Shazier has a wish that came from his talk with Roethlisberger -- beat Baltimore.
“Of course, because it is a brother, a teammate, never like to see injuries happen in football," Roethlisberger said. "Regardless of whether it is a sprained ankle or like something that happened with Ryan, it's a scary, scary incident, and we just continue to pray for him and his family. We send our thoughts and prayers to his family. But we have a game to prepare for, and we know that is what Ryan wants. Talking to Ryan, that is what he wants. So we are going to go out and prepare for the Ravens like Ryan would want us to do."
Shazier might want to beat the Ravens, but he'll appreciate the gesture from coach John Harbaugh and his Baltimore team, which prayed for Shazier's health before Wednesday's practice.
Based on Shazier's character, linebacker Arthur Moats said he knows Shazier will be an inspiration in the way he mentally handles the setback. But Shazier's hospitalization still feels like a "loved one" is injured, Moats said.
“When you see a guy go down like that, it kind of puts it in perspective like, 'Oh, yeah, this is real life,'" Moats said. "Guys are really getting hurt like that [on the field]. It is a real-life aspect to football that a lot of people get numb to because of the injuries you see so often.”
Linebacker Vince Williams, among the players who spoke to Shazier this week, wore the No. 50 jersey in practice.