Steelers' Shazier says he plans to play again


PITTSBURGH — In his first interview since suffering a severe spinal injury in early December, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said he plans to play football again.

“I’ve gotta get back, bro,” Shazier said on teammate Roosevelt Nix‘s podcast, which was posted to social media Tuesday night.

Shazier touched on several topics in the podcast, including his desire to become a Pro Football Hall of Famer.

Shazier, 25, underwent spinal stabilization surgery Dec. 6 after a tackling attempt on Monday Night Football in Cincinnati left him clutching his lower back. He was rushed to a local hospital and eventually transported to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Shazier has utilized a wheelchair but is making progress in his rehab and was cleared for outpatient care on Feb. 1.

The way Shazier sees it, all of his football goals are still in front of him. He’s still salty about the All-Pro snub.

“I really feel I’m the best linebacker ever,” Shazier said. “I just have to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I’m saying?”

Steelers teammates and coaches have admired Shazier’s determination and positive outlook since the injury. General manager Kevin Colbert said last week that Shazier is in the team facility five days a week working out and breaking down film with scouts.

“Never once has he said, ‘Why me?'” Colbert said.

Earlier this month, Shazier stood in front of the PPG Paints Arena crowd during a Pittsburgh Penguins game — “I felt everybody needed to see that,” he said — and also posted a picture of himself standing with Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

He’s proud of that one.

“People were thinking Ben was supporting me, too — he barely was even holding me,” Shazier said on the podcast.

Shazier outlined several off-field goals, including potentially returning to college, owning a company or becoming the general manager of an NFL team. For now, he’s busy impressing his therapists.

“I’m really trusting the process and I know the end goal, so I’m taking every step of the way,” Shazier said. “My therapists are like, man … the progression they [usually] see every week, they see every day.”



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