After suffering a spinal injury against the Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017, Shazier made his immediate goals known. First, he wanted to walk.
Then, he wanted to jog. In December of 2018, he jogged.
Now, he wants to get back on the field. While he's done that in a coaching sense, Shazier is still far from a return to putting on the pads for the Steelers — but don't tell him it's impossible. He's doing box jumps and working out, and his goals remain unchanged.
"I still want to make the Hall of Fame, still want to be the best linebacker in the NFL,” Shazier recently told Fort Lauderdale's Sun-Sentinel. “I’m not giving up on my goals, and the doctors said don’t give up on my goals, so there’s no problem with me doing that. I’m just going to keep working, and hopefully I’m going to be back as soon as I can.”
The full article details Shazier's journey alongside longtime friend and trainer Jerome Howard, who was literally the first non-teammate or doctor Shazier says he remembers speaking with following the injury.
"He [Howard] told me, ‘Let’s pray. We’re going to get through this. If you need me, whatever you need me to do, I’m here for you, and I love you. You’re my brother,'" Shazier recalls in the article.
Throughout the piece, the Sun-Sentinel combines various thoughts and perspectives from both Shazier and Howard, speaking with both men during a camp for Shazier's alma mater, Plantation High School. Shazier was a "guest star" at the camp.
Ryan Shazier demonstrates back exercises at his alma mater, Florida's Plantation High School.
To Howard, Shazier's road to recovery and the many milestones already achieved come as no surprise.
"With someone with a work ethic like Ryan’s, it’s not very hard," Howard says. "Anyone that’s met him understands his optimism, his positivity, and he’s never afraid to go above and beyond," Howard continued. "We had our tough moments. We had our ups and downs, but with our relationship together, we were able to be 100 percent honest with each other, reflect.”
Shazier is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for the Steelers 2019 season. He is still involved with the team and has been active in mentoring current players, including the Steelers' top 2019 draft pick, Devin Bush.
Read the full story from the Sun-Sentinel right here.