2014 NFL preview: 5 rookies to watch _lowres

Associated Press photo by GENE J. PUSKAR -- Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Ryan Shazier

When Saints safety Vonn Bell was on his recruiting visit to Ohio State, Ryan Shazier served as his host.

So when Bell was watching Monday Night Football and saw the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker suffer a spinal injury after making a tackle against the Cincinnati Bengal, it hit home for him.

"It was heartbreaking," said Bell. "He's like family to me. I've been to his home and I've met his parents and we are close."

Bell and Shazier were teammates at Ohio State.

Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was also on that Buckeyes team and is close to Shazier as well.

"Just to see something like that happen to a player like that who is such a great example and who represents the game so well was tough," Thomas said. "Ryan put in a lot of time and work into the sport. He is a guy who is so honest to the game, so to see something happen like that to him and us to be close friends, like family, is just sad to see."

According to an NFL.com report on Tuesday, Shazier remains hospitalized at University of Cincinnati Medical Center and will undergo further testing and evaluation for his spine injury.

The original diagnosis was that Shazier has a spinal contusion with some swelling involved.

"You never want to see that happen to anyone, but when it's close to home like that it makes you sit back and think and make you appreciative of things you have," Thomas said. "He has a great family and is very spiritual and he prays for protection. He just got dealt a bad hand and you never want to see that happen and I'm just going to keep praying for him. I know he will overcome this in the end."

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.