Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is hoping to eventually return to the NFL, after suffering a severe spinal injury last season. Shazier is set to spend the entire 2018 season on he sidelines, and while his recovery will likely be a long, arduous process, the 25-year-old has vowed to remain positive.
Ryan Shazier’s NFL career was dealt a huge blow last year, when in Week 13 of the 2017 campaign, the linebacker suffered a spinal injury that left him temporarily paralysed. After doctors realised that Shazier had sustained a spinal contusion, the 25-year-old was forced to undergo surgery on December 7, casting huge doubts over his future as a professional athlete.
Six months on and Shazier is still yet to reveal the timeframe of his possible return to the NFL. In his first official press conference since his surgery, Shazier explained: “My dream is to come back and play football again,”
“My next step is to be able to walk by myself without any support of a cane.”
He added: “I’ve been working my tail off every single day, so I have that in the back of my mind every single time I go to rehab,”
“I just try to stay positive every day, so I’m trying to do everything I can to get back.”
Shazier is set to remain involved in the Steelers organisation for the upcoming season, with the franchise offering to pay up to $8m of his $8.72m base salary in 2018. The 25-year-old was present at the recent NFL draft, where he took to the stage with his fiancee Michelle Rodriguez to announce the Steelers first-round pick.
“When I was in rehab, the first few steps I took, me and my family were crying,” said Shazier.
“Sometimes I look back at my videos and I still cry, but it’s all tears of joy – just to see where you came from, what people thought you would be, to where you are now, and where I plan on being.”