Ryan Shazier remains hopeful about resuming football career
It might not happen for another season, but Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier remains set on resuming his NFL career despite his devastating spinal cord injury.
“Yeah, definitely,” Shazier told New York station WFAN on Friday morning while visiting radio row at the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
Shazier said he received positive feedback from his doctors in December when he had his most recent checkup. The exam came one year after his spinal cord was injured while he made a tackle in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“They said, ‘Ryan, you’re way ahead of where we ever expected you to be,’” Shazier said. “’All your tests are coming back stronger than we thought they would be. If you keep working like you’re working on your rehab and keep working on your coordination and strength, all doors are open.”
Shazier started jogging in January, and he has been deadlifting 135-145 pound weights. At this point a year ago, Shazier wasn’t walking on his own power.
Shazier has spent the past year recovering from his injury with a return to the Steelers in mind. He sat out the 2018 season and assisted the team in coaching and scouting aspects while he rehabbed at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.
“I still want to play football,” he said. “The game gives you what you give it. I gave it everything I got. I worked my tail off and have no regrets. That’s why I’m so positive in everything I’m going through. I feel the harder you work, the more you get out of whatever you want.”
Shazier said the most difficult aspect of his recovery has been remaining patient. All of Shazier’s workouts are taped, and his fiancee, Michelle Rodriguez, will put in a tape to show Shazier how much he has progressed.
“From the inside out, it’s like, ‘He’s making amazing progress,’” Shazier said. “When you’re on a rollercoaster, it feels like it’s 10 minutes long. When you look at it from the outside, it just flew by.”
Steelers president Art Rooney II said the team wants to bring back Shazier, who will be a free agent in March, for another season. Rooney said the Steelers will have to sign Shazier to a player contract. Shazier said his agent and the team are working out the particulars.
“I want to make sure I’m still with the team, to still be a part of it,” Shazier said. “If it’s as a player, coach or scout, I just want to stay with them.”
Shazier has no timetable for his return to the football field.
“I’m going to give it everything I have, and when I reach that time when I don’t feel like it’s right, I’m going to hang it up,” he said. “But I’m going to keep going.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at [email protected] or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .