Never count Ryan Shazier out.
The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker suffered a horrific spine injury during the team’s Week 13 game against the Cincinnati Bengals, requiring spinal stabilization surgery. Shazier spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday on teammate Roosevelt Nix’s podcast, noting he still has his sights set on playing and making it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Since I’ve been in college, I really wanted to go to the Hall of Fame, I still want to go to the Hall of Fame,” Shazier said, per Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “All my goals are like making me want to go to the Hall of Fame.
“I’m still reaching for that Hall of Fame because I really feel I’m the best linebacker ever. I just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I’m saying?”
Shazier said he rehabs two hours per day, five days a week and has made a lot of progress since the Dec. 4 injury.
“I got to get back,” Shazier said. “Right now I’m reading a book and it’s basically saying trust the process. I’m really trusting the process. I know the end goal. So I’m taking every step of the way, I’m giving everything I got. The therapists are like, ‘Man this is crazy; I’ve never seen anyone work this hard.’ They almost see progression every day.
“They say like some progressions they see week to week, they see from me day to day. I’m really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler. I’m sorry, because I feel I got snubbed this year for All-Pro even though I got hurt. But I feel like my stats are as good as those who made it.”
Shazier is a two-time Pro Bowler who tallied 89 combined tackles, three interceptions and two forced fumbles in 12 games before his injury in the 2017 season.