If you never got a chance to watch the NFL when headshots were the norm, you got a glimpse of it last night.
During Monday Night Football’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals game, cheap shots were made on both sides of the ball which led to players being carted off the field. But the worst hit was self-inflicted when Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier went in for a tackle on receiver Josh Malone and made the mistake of leading with his head—not his shoulder— and appeared to tweak his neck. As he falls to the ground he quick grabs his lower back in pain, flips his body over and moves his arms but didn’t appear to move his legs at all.
Shazier was strapped to a backboard and was quickly carted off the field. Teammates took a knee in support of Shazier as the medical staff tended to him and the words of support continued after the game.
“This is a tough game, a tough business.5-0 is our brother. Our thoughts and prayers out to him. … We care about that man, we care about all the men. But that’s just a tough element of our game, one that we all understand,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said.
Since last night, little news of what injury Shazier actually suffered has been released, but NFL network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala reportedly says it was a spinal contusion.
Teammate Antonio Brown tweeted out support for Shazier early Tuesday morning.
AB’s post game commentary didn’t stop there: he had some words for Vontaze Burfict. During the fourth quarter, JuJu Smith-Schuster hit Burfict with a hard hit to the helmet and stood over him afterwards. Burfict was courted off the field and was out the remainder of the game but did give a thumbs up as he disappeared into the tunnel.
After the game Smith-Schuster said he didn’t know it was Burfict and apologized for taunting him afterwards. But while he was talking about the block, Brown could be heard in the background repeatedly yelling, “Karma.” The Steelers have history with Burfict as Brown once left a game concussed thanks to a Burfict hit and another incident that left Le’Veon Bell with a torn MCL and PCL.
But business continues to boom for Brown and the Steelers who improved to 10-2 on the season.