Ryan Shazier said recently he plans to return to the football field and play at a level that gets him into the Hall of Fame, but his comeback won’t begin this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert told media at the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday that Shazier will not play in 2018, but that he will have a role with the team.
“He knows that and we know that,” Colbert said.
Shazier suffered a neck injury in the first half of the Steelers’ Monday night game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4 that left him temporarily paralyzed.
Three days later, he underwent spinal stabilization surgery; he spent nearly two months in the hospital before being discharged to an outpatient therapy program.
A few days after he was released, Shazier received a rousing ovation at a Pittsburgh Penguins game when he stood up, with some help, to acknowledge the crowd.
Last week, Shazier, who is 25 years old, was a guest on teammate Roosevelt Nix’s podcast, which marked his first interview since his injury.
“I got to get back,” Shazier told Nix. “Right now I’m reading a book and it’s basically saying trust the process. I’m really trusting the process. I know the end goal. So I’m taking every step of the way, I’m giving everything I got. The therapists are like, ‘Man this is crazy; I’ve never seen anyone work this hard.’ The almost see progression every day.
“They say like some progressions they see week to week, they see from me day to day. I’m really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler.”
And Shazier, the 15th pick in the 2014 draft and a two-time Pro Bowler, affirmed to Nix that his childhood goal, of being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is still his goal: “I’m still reaching for that Hall of Fame because I really feel I’m the best linebacker ever. I just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I’m saying?”