Steelers’ Ryan Shazier Eyeing NFL Return

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has made tremendous strides in his rehabilitation and wants to continue forward in his recovery with an eye on playing football again, owner Art Rooney says (Twitter link via Ed Bouchette of the Post-Gazette). Shazier’s contract is up, so Rooney says the team would probably have to sign him as a player in 2019 in order for him to do that.

When Shazier was carted off of the field in December 2017, doctors feared that he might never walk again. After months of grueling rehab, Shazier is now able to walk with some assistance. All along, the linebacker has been hopeful about returning to the gridiron.

There is no ceiling in Ryan’s recovery. He aggressively approaches it every day,” Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said in March of last year. “We support him in every way possible in that endeavor. Where that leads, only he will know and he will determine further down the road. His approach, his mental approach. I can’t tell you how impressive an inspiration he is to us.”

Last May, the Steelers converted $8.26MM of the linebacker’s 2018 base salary into a signing bonus. The move had no cap implications for the Steelers, but it allowed Shazier to collect on the bulk of his pay for the 2018 season immediately rather than waiting for it in increments throughout the year. It sounds like the Steelers are prepared to do right by him once again as he continues on his inspirational journey.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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28 comments on “Steelers’ Ryan Shazier Eyeing NFL Return

  1. maisey21

    He will never play again, we all wish he can, but I just don’t see it happening

    • TJECK109

      There is nothing wrong with a guy having a goal. All athletes are goal driven. I like the fact that he’s giving it his all, but I don’t see him ever playing again. But he can still be a tremendous motivator for others. He grew up and still has alopecia. So the guy has fought against others all his life

  2. sportsfan101

    Love be the guy, great story but he returns one bad hit his life is over. Time to evaluate what means most to him.

    • BAINES03

      Maybe thinking about playing in the NFL is what gets him through his rehab…it’s not like he’s rehabbing a bum knee. This rehab is probably the most difficult thing he has ever done.

  3. wettle

    I don’t see him playing gain either, nor should he. I think he’s no where near ready. I’m sure he’s lost a lot of his muscle and weight and it would take some time to get back k to that level. I’d be surprised if a team marred him medically. I just want him to be able to lead a normal life. It’s unfortunate what happened but football shouldn’t be an option going forward.

  4. julyn82001

    Ryan just needs to think to be fully healthy again. All that other stuffs well it’s just secondary at this point in his life…

  5. The Ghost of Bobby Bonilla

    Not feasible for him to ever play again, but I admire him having that goal for himself. The guy’s incredible.

    Steelers have a LOOOONG list of to-dos this offseason:

    1) Trade Antonio and get his butt out the door to be never heard from again. Have fun in Arizona, SF, or on your dancing shows, AB. Mike Wallace can explain to you what will happen to your career starting this year.
    2) Rescind the Bud Dupree 5th year tender to conserve cap space and use it on much better players at his position.
    3) To do right by Shazier, sign him to a vet minimum contract and put him on the 53-man roster to be a player/coach (coach realistically) in 2019. This lets him continue his rehab w/ team’s medical staff.
    4) Put Mike Tomlin on notice that if any more drama and underperformance arises in 2019, he ABSOLUTELY WILL NOT return in 2020.
    5) Nail the draft. Get a shutdown CB or ILB in Round 1 and then go get the typical All-Pro WR in round 2 to 5 to pair with JuJu. 5a) Also, sign another very good CB or ILB as a free agent for once.
    6) Get James Conner some help and get a big, bruising RB to absorb 5-10 carries a game to lessen Conner’s wear and tear.
    7) Re-sign the Outlaw. Vance was good this year, but you never know how healthy he’ll be. JJ is a perfect #2 TE.

  6. joeshmoe11

    I’m not sure how long someone needs to play to be fully vested in the union and be able to garner a pension and other benefits for life but I hope he’s not doing this to try to reach that number, although I fully understand why someone would want to. NFL and the NFLPA aren’t known to take care of their former players. Cynic in me can’t dismiss the thought.

    • Michael Chaney

      Or maybe he just really wants to play football again. It seems pretty disrespectful to speculate about anything else.

      • crosseyedlemon

        I see nothing disrespectful in the comment made by Joe. His point that players have to look after their own long term interests rather than depend on the NFL or union is 100% valid.

  7. nentwigs

    Ryan, Be glad you can walk. For your own long term health leave playing behind. If you must be involved in the game, explore coaching, scouting or the front office.

  8. crosseyedlemon

    Steelers will sign him to a one day contract as a PR stunt. I’m sure Shazier’s agent is already exploring the market for a book and movie deal.

  9. Chico Gordo

    Hopefully the NFL would step in and stop him from playing if it gets to that point. I’m glad he’s regaining his health, but to consider playing again is insane.

    • Prospectnvstr

      To ALL of you “medical specialists ” on this thread: Never say never! Do ANY of you “truly ” remember #20 and HIS story? Rocky Bleier, the Vietnam vet, that wasn’t supposed to walk w/o assistance. His playing days were supposed to be over but he NEVER gave up. He ended up with 4 Super Bowl rings AND was an inspiration to millions of people. Thank you Rocky. Thank you Ryan. Thank you God.

      • Chico Gordo

        That was 45 years ago. Times have changed. Back then, 3 drivers died every year in F1. That’s an archaic argument.

  10. Breezy

    The Steelers did right by him in the past, and they should do it again by signing him not to be a player, and instead some sort of assistant coach.

  11. Z-A

    He is only 26. Its not unreasonable to envision a multi year process where he gets back on the field again. Dude is very determined. Lots of people set their goals high, few have the will power to achieve them, Shazier seems like a guy that wont give up too easily.

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