Idaho Falls
70° F
Clear
Clear

Roethlisberger returns, Shazier signs

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jun 05 2014 07:42:35 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 06 2014 10:19:01 AM CDT
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

Jason Cohn/Reuters

PITTSBURGH -

The Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday celebrated the return of a familiar face and the signing of a new one.

Veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger returned to practice Wednesday and Thursday after missing Tuesday to attend family matters. He immediately congratulated San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick on his six-year, $126 million contract. Roethlisberger is expected to be headed for a franchise tag that will earn him in excess of $19 million.

On Thursday, Roethlisberger also congratulated new teammate Ryan Shazier, the team's first round draft pick who signed his contract for a little less than that of Kaepernick. The rookie four-year-plus-option contract is believed to be worth $9.51 million, including a signing bonus of $5.2 million.

A 6-foot-1, 223-pounder who dazzled scouts at the combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.38 seconds, Shazier is expected to be a three-down player and a part of every defensive package.

At Ohio State, he played in 39 games, starting the final 29 at weak-side outside linebacker. He totaled 316 tackles, 14 sacks, 44 1/2 tackles for a loss, nine quarterback pressures and nine forced fumbles for the Buckeyes.

His 101 tackles in 2013 rank behind only Tom Cousineau (142) and Chris Spielman (105) at OSU. So it was no surprise when he was named first-team All-American on several lists. He won All-Big Ten Conference first-team honors and was twice named the Lott IMPACT Trophy national player of the week and tied a Big Ten record with three conference defensive player of the week honors.

The Steelers have now signed six of their nine selections from the 2014 NFL Draft.

The Steelers stepped up work on their no-huddle offense this week. After losing two veteran receivers in free agency, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, Roethlisberger wants to get up to speed with the replacements -- veteran Lance Moore and second-year man Markus Wheaton especially. They also drafted Martavis Bryant and signed Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Might they use it more often in 2014?

"I think it depends on how we pick it up as an offense," tight end Heath Miller said. "I think if we can, then it can be a good weapon for us."

NOTES: CB Ike Taylor took a steep pay cut to return for his final season under contract and, at age 34, perhaps his final season. He agreed to drop from $7 million to $2.75 million in salary and had no qualms doing so. "My salary is a lot of money. With anybody, it's a lot of money. I've been fortunate enough to be making a lot of money since 2005. As a player, either you are going to put your pride aside or you know that your time is coming. And that time came."... Rookie RB/WR Dri Archer, the third-round pick from Kent State, went through his first OTA practices with veterans this week after missing the first week because he was required to attend the NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere. ... LB Jason Worilds has missed five of the first six OTA practices because of a calf injury. He has been running and riding the stationary bike.

Advertisement