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Why Duke Johnson dropped to a knee in prayer for Ryan Shazier

CLEVELAND — Duke Johnson Jr. used his touchdown catch in Sunday's loss to the Packers to shine a light on injured Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier.

After scoring on a 7-yard shovel pass in the second quarter, the Browns running back dropped to a knee in prayer and made the No. 50 with his hands for Shazier, who underwent spinal stabilization surgery after suffering a back injury while making a tackle against the Bengals on Dec. 4.

The gesture quickly spread through social media as the NFL community rallies around the Pro Bowler and former Ohio State star. That, of course, isn't why Johnson wanted to lift up a fellow player.

"I didn't do it for the praise," Johnson said Wednesday. "it's just looking out for one of our own."

Johnson said Shazier's injury is something no player ever wants to experience. To see the linebacker go down, he said, was a sobering moment. 

"It really doesn't matter who it is, when we look at football we always see what could happen and that's an injury that we never like to think about or we never like to say that can happen to one of us," he said.

Shazier remains hospitalized and was placed on injured reserve earlier this week. 

"Just to see it happen to someone, that was eye-opening for not only myself but a lot of players that play this game. Regardless of what team you play for or what team you root for, you never want to see something like that happen to anyone," Johnson said.

"My prayers go out to him and his family through these tough times. Like I said, it's just something you never really look at playing football, you know it can happen but you hardly ever see it, just to see it, it's eye-opening."

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