Ryan Shazier Says Goal Is to Return to Football After Spine Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2018

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 26:  Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier announces the Steelers' draft pick during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier said Wednesday he still hopes to play in the NFL again after suffering a serious spine injury last season that required spinal stabilization surgery.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network provided comments from Shazier, who's already been ruled out for the 2018 season.

"My dream is to come back and play football again," he said. "I have that in the back of my mind every day I go to rehab. I'm trying to stay positive every day. … They feel like I'm doing a lot better than expected."

Shazier was injured during a Dec. 4 road game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 25-year-old Florida native has since made steady progress in his recovery and maintained his desire to get back on the football field every step of the way.

He stood up during appearances at the Ohio State spring game and a Pittsburgh Penguins game. In April, he announced the Steelers' selection of safety Terrell Edmunds after walking on stage at the 2018 NFL draft.

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recorded video of Shazier walking to the podium with support of a cane Wednesday:

In February, he appeared on a podcast hosted by Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix and said his long-term goals haven't changed, per A.J. Perez of USA Today.

"I'm still reaching (to be) that Hall of Famer," Shazier said. "I feel like I'm (the) best linebacker ever. I just got to get back out there so everyone can see it."

He told reporters Wednesday he's been mostly operating in an unofficial coaching capacity during offseason practices while continuing the rehab process.

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