Ryan Shazier still holds hope for return: 'I still want to make the Hall of Fame'

It’s been nearly two years since Ryan Shazier suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a December regular season football game. The injury has kept Shazier off the football field, but he still hasn’t given up his dream of one day making a return.

“I still want to make the Hall of Fame, still want to be the best linebacker in the NFL,” Shazier told the Sun-Sentinel. “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.”

The injury required spinal stabilization surgery and doctors told him that he had less than a 20 percent chance to ever walk again.

However, since then Shazier has been able to defy the odds.

He famously walked across the stage at the NFL draft in 2018 roughly four months after his injury and earlier this year posted a video of himself doing a box jump.

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DEDICATION = HARDWORK + PATIENCE

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Shazier is grateful for the time he’s had and the milestones he’s been able to reach.

“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.”

Before his injury, the first-round pick had begun to cement himself as a key member of the Steelers defense. Across his 46 games, Shazier amassed 303 combined tackles, seven sacks and seven interceptions en route to two Pro Bowl nominations.

The upcoming 2019 season will be Shazier’s second straight on the Steelers’ physically unable to perform list. Still, he’s hopeful to one day make a return to the football field and play for the team that drafted him.

“I’m just going to keep working, and hopefully I’m going to be back as soon as I can.”

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Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) enters the field before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers on November 26, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The Steelers went on to win the game 31-28 with a field goal on final play. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
May 8, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Ryan Shazier (Ohio State) holds up his jersey after being selected as the number fifteen overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft to the Pittsburgh Steelers at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 15, 2017; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware (32) runs the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) during the first quarter in the AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 26: Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) warms up before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers on November 26, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. The Steelers went on to win the game 31-28 with a field goal on final play. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 12: Ryan Shazier #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Steelers won 20-17. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 22: Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) celebrates pressuring Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) during an NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 22, 2017 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) waits for the play during game action between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions on October 29, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier (50), Pittsburgh Steelers corner back Artie Burns (25), and Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) talks during a timeout during game action between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions on October 29, 2017 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier (50) reaches out to recover a fumble during an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Bears on September 24, 2017 at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by Ryan Shazier #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field on September 24, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Steelers 23-17 in overtime. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 18: Ryan Shazier #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers sacks Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - DECEMBER 11: Sammy Watkins #14 of the Buffalo Bills exchanges jerseys with Ryan Shazier #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers after their NFL game at New Era Field on December 11, 2016 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 04: Ryan Shazier #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Rashad Jennings #23 during the game against the New York Giants at Heinz Field on December 4, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Giants 24-14. (Photo by Rob Leiter via Getty Images)
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