Dejan Kovacevic and I talk a lot. We cover each team together, we travel together and we often ride together to and from venues.
Recently, we've been talking a ton about Ryan Shazier.
I know, I know. Everyone talks a lot about Shazier. There was something different about actually being in Cincinnati and being on the sidelines, though. Then hearing the reports, conflicting reports. Then having colleagues staying behind to report on whatever would be announced the next day.
Nobody, in hyperbole of course, knew anything. Nobody knew what we would see. Everyone just knew it was Shazier and the power of that man's mind.
Since then, it's hard not to go overboard documenting every step of Shazier's development. "Development" seems like such a tiny word to describe then to now. At the same time, I've become accustomed to Shazier moving better each day that I see him. Dejan as well, and that's why we've discussed him to such lengths.
Setting that growing expectation aside, though, when I took the first photo you see above, about 20 minutes before the Steelers took the opening kickoff in the preseason finale, I had to step back and truly think about what I was seeing.
Shazier hugged Antonio Brown, shook his hand, and started to laugh with him. That is when each backed away and pretended to be a photographer, playing in front of AB's personal photographer, Theo, as he and others snapped away.
I've seen Shazier stand and sit and stand and sit. But, the ease, or the apparent ease at least, with which Shazier bobbed up and down as he got into the perfect shooting position ... it just took me back to Cincinnati and I stood in amazement as I took the time to tweet the photo of what I witnessed.
This was different than sitting and standing. It was using strength in legs to hover between a sit and a stand. It was somehow proof for me that humans are capable of more.
That photo moved around quickly during the game, and I assume just about everyone who saw it was having the same thought Dejan and I shared as we left the stadium.
After that, it gets pretty boring in comparison as the photos head through the final preseason game (even if you enjoy my paparazzi shot that follows). But, I don't suspect many football games of any magnitude will overshadow the way No. 50 continues to amaze.