Earlier this week, Ryan Shazier told the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinal he still holds out hope of reaching the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Later in the week, he doubled down on his statement, telling former Colts punter and Pittsburgh native Pat McAfee on his podcast doctors are extremely optimistic about Shazier's recovery from a spinal column injury suffered Dec. 4, 2017, in Cincinnati.
“I’m doing amazing man, I literally can’t complain," Shazier told McAfee. "The same doctors that said I wouldn’t ever walk again, they’re just giving me the same amount of hope in saying if you continue with the same progress you might be able to play again. So, I’m just working my (butt) off man and thanking God every single day."
Shazier has been a regular at the Rooney Complex both working on his recovery and helping the Steelers. This offseason, he has taken on the role of mentor to the player the Steelers essentially selected in the draft to be his replacement, Devin Bush.
The two have been inseparable since the Steelers selected Bush with the 10th pick in the draft earlier this year. The Steelers tolled Shazier's contract again this season, placing him on the PUP List earlier this year and retaining his rights while also allowing him to continue to receive medical attention from their doctors.
“Honestly it just gives me a different perspective of things. I was already learning a lot and I always had a good relationship with coach (Mike) Tomlin but it just gave me a different perspective, looking at things as a coach but also with the younger guys, you just see who’s really mentally prepared and who’s ready to grow," Shazier said. "So a lot of the guys come and ask questions and it’s cool just to be around the guys because when you’re going through something tough, it’s always good to be around people that you care about, people that you know and it helps you get better instead of sulking by yourself. So, it’s a combination of doing both of those things that really helped me grow and helped me get better every day.”
But at 26, he isn't in any hurry to make his comeback. And the Steelers, of course, aren't going to hurry him.
They're going to continue to offer him support.
“Honestly I’m not going to give myself a timetable but my doctor said if I keep grinding, there’s a very strong possibility that I can continue to get healthy so my goal is the same as it was before,” Shazier told McAfee.