This morning, Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Ryan Shazier announced that he is retiring from the game of football via a two-part video message posted to his Twitter account.
“To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy,” he said. “When you play the game of football the way that I did you convince yourself you’re Superman, that nothing can stop you. But then the moment I got hurt I stopped being Superman, and that was difficult to make sense [of]. But the way I look at it, God put us all here for a purpose. For 20 years, He let me play football, and now it’s time for me to do what He wants me to do.”
Shazier, who is 28, is a former first-round draft pick of the Steelers. He suffered a spinal contusion during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in December 2017 that left him temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. Thanks to intensive rehabilitation efforts and the best available medical care Shazier is now able to walk unassisted.
“I’m going to step away from the game for a while and see what life has to offer. I know football will always be here for me if I need it but right now I’m excited to explore some new challenges and different paths. You’ll be hearing from me real soon about all the things I’ll be doing,” he concluded.
Shazier Created Short Film for Longtime Season Ticket-Holders
One of the things he has been doing lately is promoting the “Every Game is a Home Game” documentary, a heart-warming short film where he is seen bringing two longtime Steelers season ticket-holders their seats from Heinz Field. Much like Shazier, they haven’t been able to go to the stadium either, both because of challenging life circumstances and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
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When I asked Shazier last week if he still planned to try to play football again, he didn’t sound optimistic, telling Heavy.com: “I am still focusing on rehab and I’m just taking it one day at a time. I just try to keep one foot in front of the other and I am just trying to stay focused on rehab and I will let that decide what my next step will be.”
Ryan Shazier’s Favorite Football Memory
He was happy to talk about his favorite football memory, though, telling Heavy.com that it was the play in which he stripped the ball from Bengals running back Jeremy Hill during the final minutes of the January 2016 playoff game at Cincinnati, which allowed the Steelers to get the ball back and complete a highly improbable. 18-16, come-from-behind victory.
“A lot of people thought we had lost the game, but to be able to breathe life back into the situation and go back out and win the game, that’s one of the best memories I ever had,” he concluded.
Re-live Shazier’s favorite football memory here: