CINCINNATI — Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has been taken to an area hospital in an ambulance after suffering a back injury in a collision with Cincinnati Bengals receiver Josh Malone early in the first quarter.
Shazier led with his helmet into Malone’s thigh, then signaled to trainers as he rolled on the ground and appeared to hold his lower back. He was carted off the field with the injury.
The scene was somber as teammates looked emotional kneeling around Shazier, who was down on the grass for a few minutes at the 10:58 mark. Coach Mike Tomlin looked affected as a team doctor informed him on the injury.
Shazier is a force of a playmaker with 87 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions this season. The fourth-year player looked forward to playing his first full NFL season after missing games in each of the last three seasons.
Second-year linebacker Tyler Matakevich filled in for Shazier.