PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Steelers defensive coordinator Keith Butler knows the perils of playing linebacker in the NFL firsthand.
He made countless tackles and walked away from more collisions than he cares to remember over ten seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. None of those things made it any easier for Butler when Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury in Cincinnati Monday night.
“It shook all of us. As football players, we know the risk we’re taking when we play,” he said. “We all know that, but when something that scary happens, it’s still a shocker to you. It was tough on me, just looking at him, hoping and praying he’ll be okay.”
Upon hearing that Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Butler did not want to speculate.
“All I am is hopeful that he gets well,” he said. “I’m not worried about him playing for us again. I’m more worried about him. The football stuff is secondary. His life is a lot more important to me than football.”
Football, however, goes on, and Butler has a defense to prepare to face the Ravens on Sunday. He won’t give away his plans, but said outside linebacker Arthur Moats and newly-signed Sean Spence, who he previously coached in Pittsburgh, might end up sharing Shazier’s inside linebacker spot.