Ryan Shazier isn’t going to let anything stop him from fulfilling his goals — and it’s inspiring as hell to see. The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker, who sustained a serious injury to his spinal cord during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals back during the 2017 NFL season, has updated his progress from wheelchair to walking to jogging over the past couple years, with the hope of, one day, returning to the gridiron.
Shazier has a long way back to get into an NFL game again, but that hasn’t deterred any of the goals he’s set out for himself, with one still being a Hall of Fame induction someday.
Although Ryan Shazier’s already been ruled out for the 2019 season, he recently did an interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinal to detail his life since the injury, talking about how he’s working his way back. And, just hearing him say that he’s still holding out hope to be recognized as one of the best defenders the NFL has ever seen is incredible.
“I have a lot of little moments like that to myself and my family, but my goals may be different from a lot of people’s goals. People might see me walking on the stage and be thinking, ‘Man, that’s an amazing goal. I know he’s been trying to achieve that.’ But at the end of the day, I can be trying to achieve something entirely different.”
While a comeback won’t happen during the 2019 season, since the Steelers have him on the physically unable to perform list, Shazier’s ultimate goals remain unchanged from what they were before his injury.
“I still want to make the Hall of Fame, still want to be the best linebacker in the NFL,” he said. “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.”
It’s easy to cheer for a guy like Ryan Shazier, because, while many people could have fallen into despair after such a brutal and life-altering injury, he’s tried to embrace what’s in front of him and use each day as motivation to reach his goals. For that reason, it seems like he’s become much more grateful for every single day.
“I try to be appreciative of every day I get,” Shazier said. “Because every day I’m beating the odds. Every day I’m getting better, proving people wrong that never thought I’d be where I am. I constantly am proud of where I’m at. There are some moments that people see that are a little bigger than others. I set goals, but every day that I take another step, take another breath, I’m truly thankful and praise God for that.”
Who knows what the future of Ryan Shazier holds and whether or not he ever returns to playing in the NFL. But he’s got a lot of people rooting for him, and he’s been proving people wrong every single day since his injury, so there’s no reason to start doubting him now.