For the first time since suffering a spine injury that left him paralyzed last year, Ryan Shazier gave his first interview. It came on Roosevelt Nix’s podcast, something he teased more than a week ago but finally posted today. The two talked about Shazier’s rehab and hopeful return to football.
“I gotta get back,” Shazier told Nix of coming back to the NFL.
“I know the end goal. I’m taking it every step of the way. But I’m giving it everything I got.”
Shazier has progressed to what’s being called a “walking routine,” still unable to walk completely unaided but says doctors and therapists have commented that his process has been remarkable.
“They see progression almost every day. They say some progression they see week-to-week [in others] they almost see day-to-day [in me]. So I’m like, ‘I gotta get it.’ I’m really trying to come back. Still be a Pro Bowler. Still be an All-Pro.”
We last saw Shazier at a Pittsburgh Penguins game where he stood out of his wheelchair for the first time in the public eye. He also took a picture with Ben Roethlisberger, shown below, while standing up. He says Roethlisberger wasn’t really holding him up either.
“And the thing is, in the picture, people think Ben was supporting me. He was barely even holding me.”
He said he wanted to stand up at the Pens game to show everyone his progress and how far he’s come since the Bengals game.
Coming into the NFL, Shazier’s goal was to become a Hall of Famer, and he says he still has those aspirations. He told Nix he has his agent give him a list of every linebacker in Canton with their stats and achievements, so he knows how well he has to succeed in order to join them.
We’ll have more about Shazier’s journey later tonight or in the morning. For now, it’s great to hear from him and the progress that he’s making. Though it’ll be a difficult climb back for him, clearly, he hasn’t given up on his NFL dreams. If you want to listen to the whole podcast, click the link here.