The comeback story of current Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has been well documented. From being told he will likely never walk again to walking across the stage at last year’s NFL Draft to now walking without any assistance, the linebacker’s story has been nothing short of remarkable.
Shazier recently joined Pat McAfee on his podcast and was asked for an update on his recovery process and what to expect next. The current Steelers’ linebacker then shared some amazing news with the progress he has made.
“I’m doing amazing man, I literally can’t complain. The same doctors that said I wouldn’t ever walk again, they’re just giving me the same amount of hope in saying if you continue with the same progress you might be able to play again. So, I’m just working my *ss off man and thanking God every single day,” says Shazier.
While most of the news of his recovery has come straight from his mouth or social media, this may be the first time a doctor’s opinion has been mentioned. The admission that a doctor has told Shazier that if he were to continue with the same progression, he could play again is huge news for the Steelers’ linebacker.
“Honestly I’m not going to give myself a timetable but my doctor said if I keep grinding, there’s a very strong possibility that I can continue to get healthy so my goal is the same as it was before,” Shazier told McAfee when asked if he had a timetable on a potential return.
Shazier has been adamant on his goal to not only return to the game of football but also to make the Hall of Fame, which he told David Furones earlier this week and also mentioned again to McAfee.
“I’ll be honest, my goal is to still make the Hall of Fame. That hasn’t changed. That was my goal before I got hurt. I say something like a week or two before I got hurt, I was like man I honestly feel that I was the best linebacker in the league and if not, one of the best linebackers of all time.”
A former first round draft pick and two-time Pro Bowler, Shazier has not played since suffering a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017. He spent the 2018 season on the Reserve/PUP list and will also spend the 2019 season on the Reserve/PUP list.
Shazier will resume his role as a mentor and coach for the younger members of the Steelers roster and shared to McAfee that the experience has given him a different perspective on the game.
“Honestly it just gives me a different perspective of things. I was already learning a lot and I always had a good relationship with coach Tomlin but it just gave me a different perspective, looking at things as a coach but also with the younger guys, you just see who’s really mentally prepared and who’s ready to grow. So a lot of the guys come and ask questions and it’s cool just to be around the guys because when you’re going through something tough, it’s always good to be around people that you care about, people that you know and it helps you get better instead of sulking by yourself. So, it’s a combination of doing both of those things that really helped me grow and helped me get better everyday.”
Shazier’s story has captivated not just the city of Pittsburgh but the entire NFL as one of the more inspirational stories of all time. Under contract for another season, the linebacker will have another year to work towards his goal of returning to the field and making the Hall of Fame.
Check out the full podcast with Shazier below, in which he also talks about fatherhood, who he would choose to play himself in a movie and the new identity of the Steelers.