No matter what the future holds for him, Ryan Shazier has big plans when it comes to the game of football. While the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker still has the very lofty ambition of not just returning to the field, but playing the sort of dominant, generational football that would lead him on a path to enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he is spending his days rounding out his resume.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said last month that Shazier will not play in 2018, which is not much of a surprise, but he also made it explicitly clear that he is going to have a role with the team off the field, echoing the sentiments previously expressed by team President Art Rooney II.
Colbert said back in February that Shazier is a daily presence at the team’s facility and has made himself at home sitting in on meetings among the coaches or front office executives. “He’s learning some personnel stuff, just to keep him involved with us, then he goes and does his rehab at a rehab facility”, he said at the time.
Yesterday, the linebacker found himself with the Steelers’ contingent at Penn State’s Pro Day and even got in assistant work in timing players for the 4-yard dash. He posted a picture to his Instagram account showing himself looking over notes with one of Pittsburgh’s scouts—scouting intern Denzel Martin, if I’m not mistaken.
It is very apparent, and has long been, that Shazier’s love for the game goes beyond simply playing it. He loves studying it and is becoming intimately involved in more behind-the-scenes aspects, which will help set him up for a future role of his choosing, should he decide to continue on a path within the scope of the game after he retires from playing.
When he spoke with teammate Roosevelt Nix on the fullback’s podcast, he talked about wanting to be like Magic Johnson and help run or own a team someday. “I’d love to try to be able to have enough to become a GM and run a team or be an owner”, he said. “My goal is really to be like the president of a corporation or an owner”.
While he retains use of a wheelchair, Shazier has demonstrated that he continues to make important strides in his rehabilitation process following a December on-field injury that left him temporarily paralyzed in his lower extremities.
He has since publicly shown that he is capable of standing under his own power and has been taking part in a ‘walking routine’. He even posted to his Instagram to show that he returned to the gym for some pullups.
There is no doubt that Shazier is going to be an active, and perhaps visible, presence for the Steelers in 2018. I don’t know if he is going to be able to be on the sidelines during games with the team, but he will be there helping his team in any way that he is able. Even if it means timing their 40s.