Dec. 06-- To Ravens players and coaches, hardly anything compares to preparing for the Pittsburgh Steelers. But they hit the pause button on their intense rivalry to send some good vibes to an injured Steelers player.
Inside linebacker Ryan Shazier remains hospitalized in Cincinnati after suffering a spinal injury in the first quarter of Monday night's 23-20 Steelers win against the Bengals. According to reports, the team was told that Shazier, who could not move his legs after attempting to tackle wide receiver Josh Malone, sustained a spinal contusion with some swelling, which would need to go down before he could return to Pittsburgh.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the team opened its first meeting Wednesday morning by praying for Shazier, and wide receiver Mike Wallace, a former Steeler, said team affiliation is thrown out the window in a situation like this.
"It doesn't matter what team he's on," Wallace said before Wednesday afternoon's practice. "We're all one family in the NFL, and at the end of the day, that's a person's son or dad or whatever he is to somebody. You know that people love him and care for him. So you never want to see anything like that happen to anybody. We said a prayer for him on our team and he plays for the Steelers. So you know it's bigger than football. It's about the person, the self, and hoping that he has his health and is able to walk and play again ultimately. But first and foremost, we just want him to be healthy."
Quarterback Joe Flacco echoed Wallace's sentiment.
"Every time we go out there on the field, we take a lot at risk," Flacco said. "We understand what the consequences are in this game. That's what makes it a little bit different, and that's also what makes it exciting, what makes people want to watch. It's unscripted, and you never know what's going to happen. But man, I feel for him and his teammates and his family. I can't imagine what they're going through."
On a conference call with Baltimore media, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin declined to provide an update on Shazier, saying he felt more comfortable with the team's medical staff undertaking that responsibility. Tomlin said Shazier would want the Steelers to turn their energies to focusing on Sunday night's game.
"Preparation's part of the job. We all understand that," Tomlin said. "On a personal level, our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family for a speedy recovery. But he would expect us to be singularly and professionally focused on the task at hand this week, and that's what our intentions are."
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