PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – You will see something you haven’t seen in 13 years Sunday at Heinz Field.

As you ponder the possibilities, the answer is a rookie starting on defense. First-round pick Ryan Shazier will begin at middle linebacker.

“It’s exciting knowing the type of guys I’ll be with,” Shazier said. “I’m not even worried about me being a rookie starter. I’m just focused on me playing and helping this team.”

Shazier played, but didn’t start his freshman year at Ohio State until late in the season.

“I’m definitely comfortable with those expectations,” Shazier said of the pressure to produce right away in the NFL. “I put so many expectations on myself, some of the things people put on me aren’t close.”

The 21-year-old assures Steelers fans he’s not afraid to mess up.

“I feel like everybody makes mistakes. You’re not going to play this game without making mistakes. I’m just trying to make the least amount of mistakes as possible. As a rookie or a vet, you don’t want to make mistakes,” he said.

Shazier likely won’t be the most recognized rookie on the field with many Steelers coaches believing Browns first-round pick Johnny Manziel will suit up on Sunday.

“If I see him, I see him. I’m not really focused on him right now, I’m focused on winning the game,” Shazier said.

Who knows, Shazier might be more famous someday than “Johnny Football.” Shazier appeared on a TV show recently, a cameo appearance on the FX program “The League,” which is a comedy centered around fantasy football. Shazier was able to do it with fellow rookie Stephon Tuitt.

“It was pretty cool being out there, just doing something different. I would definitely love to do it again just to get my name out there,” Shazier said.

Right now Steelers fans will settle for hearing his name mentioned often by Steelers PA announcer Larry Richert.

(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)


-Receivers Martavis Bryant (shoulder) and Lance Moore (groin) missed practice again Thursday. Neither have practiced this week. Likely Darius Heyward-Bey and Justin Brown would fill their roles.

-Offensive lineman Cody Wallace (finger) and defensive back Bryce McCain also didn’t practice on Thursday

-Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison will hold a news conference at the Steelers facility on Friday afternoon to officially announce his retirement from the NFL.

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