Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is set to become a free agent, but wants to continue trying to return to football with his current team.
Steelers owner Art Rooney II said Shazier, who suffered a devastating back injury in 2017, still wants to play in the NFL again and wants to continue working to do it with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Art Rooney said Ryan Shazier still wants to rehab with the idea of playing football again. His contract is up, so Rooney said they probably would have to sign him as a player this year to allow him to do that
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) January 16, 2019
Shazier didn’t play in 2018, and we last saw him walking onstage to announce a Steelers draft pick, which was an inspiring moment. Expect the Steelers to be amenable to bringing him back as long as he wants to continue working toward a return.
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One of the best moments of the NFL Draft occurred when the 28th pick was announced.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier walked across the stage to announce the pick, which was Terrell Edmunds by the Steelers.
Ryan Shazier: LEGEND pic.twitter.com/BJCtgk2Jvi
— Barstool Sports (@barstooltweetss) April 27, 2018
Shazier was holding his fiancee’s hand as he walked up to the microphone at AT&T Stadium to announce the pick. He then stood with Roger Goodell and Edmunds to take photos.
Shazier suffered a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in December and is still recovering, though it’s clear he’s making significant progress. He has been all over the sports scene in the past months, going to Steelers, Penguins, March Madness, and an Ohio State game.
Shazier will not play next season, but he still says his goal is to make the Hall of Fame.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier appears to be making great strides in his recovery from a spinal injury.
Shazier served as an honorary captain at Ohio State’s spring game on Saturday alongside fellow Buckeye and current Philadelphia Eagle Malcolm Jenkins, and looked to be able to stand on his own during the festivities.
Ohio State spring game Honorary Coach — and Buckeye legend — Ryan Shazier, reporting for duty! pic.twitter.com/ujl1FzWwE9
— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) April 14, 2018
— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) April 14, 2018
Ryan Shazier raising the roof as one of two honorary captains, along with Malcolm Jenkins, at Ohio State's spring game. pic.twitter.com/RNtHWCOCoF
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) April 14, 2018
Shazier has been out and about in public quite a bit recently. While he still doesn’t look capable of walking on his own, it’s a significant development that he appears capable of standing without assistance, and is a positive sign in his recovery.
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Ryan Shazier continues to make appearances at Pittsburgh athletic events that are well received.
The Steelers linebacker led Penguins fans in a cheer prior to Game 1 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) April 11, 2018
Shazier suffered a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in December and has been in full recovery mode since. As of February, he had said he was still unable to walk on his own, though he is now able to lift himself out of his chair on his own.
Shazier may have helped provide the Pens a lift as they got out to a 3-0 first period lead against the Flyers.
Ryan Shazier was in attendance for several first-round games of this year’s NCAA Tournament.
The Steelers linebacker took some time out of his schedule to take in the day’s games in Pittsburgh, which included Villanova-Radford, Virginia Tech-Alabama, Oklahoma-Rhode Island, and Duke-Iona.
Ryan Shazier in the house for Alabama vs. Virginia Tech pic.twitter.com/SNljjlwpfQ
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 16, 2018
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde, Shazier was snacking and appeared to be enjoying his day watching college basketball.
Ryan Shazier in the arena for NCAA tourney games today/tonight. Eating nachos, smiling away. Seems to be having a great time.
— Pat Forde (@YahooForde) March 16, 2018
Shazier has made substantial progress in recovering from a spinal injury suffered during last season. However, the Steelers confirmed he will not play in 2018.
Shaquem Griffin has been turning heads at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, and he had another great moment on Sunday when he posted the fastest 40-yard dash time for any linebacker since 2003. In fact, it was so fast that it inspired Ryan Shazier.
Griffin, a former UCF star, showed scouts some blazing speed:
WOW. @ShaquemGriffin just ran a 4.38u 40-yard dash!
The fastest LB at the #NFLCombine since 2003.
— NFL (@NFL) March 4, 2018
Shazier, who also ran a sub-4.40 40-yard dash at the combine back in 2014, was just as impressed as the rest of us. He joked that he’s going to need to speed up his recovery from a spinal injury just so he can regain the title of being the fastest linebacker in the NFL.
On @nflnetwork just now, @MikeMayock and @richeisen ask @RyanShazier what he thought of UCF prospect Shaquem Griffin. Ryan says w/ a laugh, “He’s making me rush my rehab b/c I can’t allow him to be the fastest linebacker in the league.”#NFLCombine
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 4, 2018
Griffin also put up 20 reps in the bench press on Saturday, which is remarkable considering he had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old.
As we know, Shazier is still a long way from playing football again. You have to give him credit for having a sense of humor despite that.
Ryan Shazier has taken some big steps in his recovery from a spinal injury he suffered during the 2017 season, but it remains unclear if he will ever play football again. Should he return, it will not be at any point in 2018.
While speaking with reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed that Shazier is not going to play next season.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert: “Ryan Shazier won’t play in 2018. He knows that and we know that.”
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) February 28, 2018
While disappointing, the news is unfortunately not surprising. Shazier suffered the injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, and he recently revealed that he is still unable to walk on his own. Therapists have been raving about the progress the 25-year-old has made, but playing football and walking again are two entirely different accomplishments.
Based on what Shazier said recently about his NFL career, it would be unwise of us to rule anything out. Hopefully he can use the entire 2018 season to gain the strength needed to get back to playing.