Ryan Shazier's season is over after the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker underwent spinal surgery to repair a serious back injury suffered in Week 13. Now the Steelers will play the remainder of the season without one of the team's defensive leaders.
In the first game without him, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown plans to honor the linebacker with a custom pair of cleats that feature Shazier's face, a lion, and the hashtag #Shalieve (via Behind the Steel Curtain):
Several of his Steelers teammates joined him with custom cleats in Shazier’s honor during warmups.
Shazier’s teammates, Bud Dupree and Cameron Heyward, took Shazier’s jersey out on the field with them for warmups.
And fullback Roosevelt Nix showed off the No. 50 shirt he’s wearing under his jersey after a hard-hitting special teams tackle to start the game.
The cleats are the correct team colors, but it's still unlikely they'll be able to wear the pair during a Sunday Night Football game against the Baltimore Ravens. The NFL has strict rules regarding dress code and only allows room for creativity during the "My Cause, My Cleats" campaign in Week 13.
Still, it would be tough for the NFL to crack down on Brown and fine the receiver if he chose to honor a teammate with the cleats during the game. Either way, Brown has a history of honoring athletes on his cleats — including Kimbo Slice and Jose Fernandez during the 2016 season — and will wear a pair that hit a little closer to home this week.