Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



There’s a story at about the Steelers’ defense rallying around LB Ryan Shazier. Shazier was badly injured when the Steelers played at Cincinnati Dec. 4.

The article is heart-wrenching. Steelers players say all the right things. There’s no doubt Shazier’s plight touches them deeply.

S Mike Mitchell, as he is wont to do, does a lot of the talking:

“We’re going to play [New England] again,” Mitchell said. “We can play them in hell, we can play them in Haiti, we can play them in New England … we’re gonna win.” Mitchell fantasizes about Shazier, back on his feet, celebrating the victory with his teammates on the sideline.

Mitchell could help the cause by playing better. Lately, he’s been rotten.

Here’s hoping Mitchell’s scenario comes true.

But I laugh when athletes and fans talk about winning for the guy who got hurt. Like the Steelers with Shazier, and the Penguins in 2016 when Pascal Dupuis had to retire because of a recurring blood-clot issue. Such manufactured inspiration goes back to Notre Dame football winning one for the Gipper.

Thoughts like that are fanciful, but don’t matter. The other team isn't considered. The Jacksonville Jaguars doubtless wish Shazier well, but would nonetheless prefer to win Sunday. If God has anything to do with it, He shouldn’t let athletes get grievously injured in the first place.

The Steelers will honor Shazier with their thoughts, and by giving their best effort. But the better team will win.

Shazier was at Steelers practice today, in a wheelchair. That must have been great to see, and very difficult to see.

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