Pittsburgh Steelers injured linebacker, Ryan Shazier, receives award for overcoming adversity.
It’s impossible not to respect Ryan Shazier after everything he gone through. After being drafted by the Steelers with the 15th overall pick in 2014, Shazier quickly became a leader of the defense and went on to land two consecutive Pro Bowls by the age of 25.
However, everything took a devastating turn late in the 2017 season. During a road game against the Bengals on Monday night football, Shazier writhed in pain after tackle, while the nation helplessly looked on.
The injury to Shazier’s spinal chord would have life-altering implications. It no longer became a question of when Shazier would see the field again; rather, if he would walk again.
Shazier somehow managed to stay positive through it all. Eight months after an injury that would have caused most men to lose all hope, Shazier defied the odds:
America sobbed as a video went viral of Shazier walking across the Steelers practice field for their ‘Friday Night Lights’ practice. If this would have been the only thing Shazier pulled off, it might have been enough for fans to see that not all hope was lost.
But Shazier didn’t stop there.
Ryan Shazier continued to impress, and video after video, he showed the nation why there is always hope.
In March and April, Shazier was seen doing pull-ups and box jumps – no doubt preparing for the biggest moment of his life.
On May 4th of this year, Shazier touched the hearts of the nation. The Steelers linebacker (who was never supposed to be able to walk again) danced with his wife at his wedding.
All of his sweat and tears led Shazier to that moment, and his efforts didn’t go unnoticed.
Yesterday, the Steelers role model was selected as the 2019 George Halas Award winner by Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Ed Bouchette – a PFWA member and writer for The Athletic – had this to say on the character of Ryan Shazier:
“In my 35 years covering the Steelers, I’ve seen many players overcome much adversity, but never have I seen such determination by a player to overcome what Ryan has and to reach a point, physically and mentally, where he is. It’s unbelievable how teammates talk about how he has inspired them. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have spoken many times about what he has meant to the organization, the front office and the players. He has been one big inspiration. “He’s going to all the meetings, watching film, breaking down opponents, going in with the scouts to watch stuff, looking at prospects at draft time, and he’s on the field every day. He’s made remarkable recovery from an injury where many of us believed he wouldn’t be able to. “He’s an inspiration to fans as well. His first public appearance was at a Steelers home game. They showed him on the Jumbotron, and the ovation was incredible. Same thing at a Penguins game. At the NFL Draft, he walked without help publicly for the first time. He’s been a tremendous inspiration all the way around.”
Since his injury, Shazier has been a player Steelers fans could count on to make headlines for all of the right reasons. His hard work, determination, and unmatched effort on the road to recovery simply make him one-of-a-kind.
Shazier embodies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, and his relentlessness has been an inspiration to football fans nationwide.