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The KeysTone Statement

A sports, humor and entertainment blog right in the heart of Pittsburgh (and Pennsylvania).

Despite The Browns/Steelers Rivalry, Pretty Awesome That Duke Johnson Prays For Ryan Shazier In His TD Celebrations

Despite The Browns/Steelers Rivalry, Pretty Awesome That Duke Johnson Prays For Ryan Shazier In His TD Celebrations

Via PAT MCMANAMON of ESPN

BEREA, Ohio -- Duke Johnson has bypassed a touchdown celebration in recent weeks.

Instead, the Cleveland Browns running back has knelt in the end zone to say a prayer for Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who seriously hurt his spine Dec. 4.

"I just do it and kind of move on," Johnson said. "Once again I'm not actually doing it for praise, for people to reach out. To me it's bigger than that."

Shazier injured his back in a scary incident during Pittsburgh's win over Cincinnati. He had spinal stabilization surgery Dec. 7, and the most recent release about his recovery is that he is continuing rehab.

Johnson first recognized Shazier the Sunday following his injury, when he knelt to pray after a touchdown reception against Green Bay Dec. 7. Johnson then stood up and signaled 5 and 0 with his two hands - for Shazier's number.

The following week after a touchdown run against Baltimore, Johnson did the same, and was joined by five teammates.

He called it "just looking out for one of our own" and said he will do the same if he scores when the Browns play in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

Johnson also wore eye black the past few games with Shazier's name and number.

I love a good hate rivalry as much as anybody. Hell, I'll go even as far to say that I absolutely loathe it, LOATHE IT when players of rival teams go up and hug it out like "Old Man" Marley did in Home Alone when he reunited with his wayward son.

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There's not supposed to be chum-ery between the Montagues and the Capulets, the Hatfields and McCoys, nor the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Cleveland Browns. Did the Raiders' Ben Davidson trade jerseys with Joe Namath? No, no he didn't. Quite the contrary actually:

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He fractured the right cheekbone of Broadway. And that's what I dig about football. Not the degeneracy so much, but the heated rivalry where teams just hate one another. That's what makes competitive sports run. Sidney Crosby isn't doing pre-game trick shots with Claude Giroux (actually I don't think Giroux is capable of such abilities) and Jack Lambert didn't pose for photos with Roger Staubach's kids.

But this with Duke Johnson Jr. is a pretty awesome exception. Something like a potential career-ending injury is above all that, and I have to lean on the side that doing that is an A+ gesture. I have a feeling that this game Sunday is going to be a doozy (despite the Browns not being good and all).

Any Given Sunday.

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