Ryan Dean Shazier grew up as a typical NFL player. Just picture this…
After years of hard work throughout high school, many big-time colleges began trying to recruit Ryan Shazier. He originally committed to the University of Florida under coach Urban Meyer, but then decided to go to Ohio State and play under coach Jim Tressell. Coincidentally, Tressell left five months after Shazier joined the school and was replaced by none other than Coach Myer!
In his first season in Ohio State, the true freshman had 57 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. The following season, he started in all of the twelve games they played. One highlight from this season was when he played Penn State and absolutely dominated with eight tackles, two sacks, and a last minute pick six (an interception that is ran down for a touchdown) that ultimately won the game for them. He ended the season with his 17 tackles for a loss and lead the Big Ten conference. Not only that, but he also had 115 tackles, 5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles during the season.
During his Junior year, his stats exploded. In one game against the Indiana Hoosiers, he recorded 16 solo tackles and 5 tackles for a loss, tying the school’s original record. At the end he came in second in the NCAA for solo tackles (101) and led the Big Ten conference with a whopping 143 tackles on the season. Right after all of this ended, Ryan Declared for the 2014 NFL Draft.
Shazier was ranked high in the Draft that year and was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers as the 15th pick overall. After getting a nice contract, he played a couple of games but then hurt his knee. That season, due to injury, he ended up having 36 tackles in the eight games he played (5 he started in).
In the 2015 NFL season, Ryan proved that he was the real deal, despite missing four games to a shoulder contusion. When the season ended and he had 87 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and an interception, after playing in twelve games.
In the Steelers’ 2016 season opener against the Washington Redskins, he had six tackles, two pass deflections, one forced fumble, and an interception in their 38-16 win. The following game Shazier had a season-high 12 tackles in their game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He later re-injured his knee against the Eagles and was out weeks 4-6. During the regular season he had 87 tackles, 9 deflected passes, 3.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions!
The 2017 season was an absolute rollercoaster. He began to have one of the greatest seasons in his career. On September 10, he recorded 11 solo tackles and had a career-high 2 forced fumbles. Then tragedy struck.
While he was tackling a player in a game against the bengals, he sustained a very scary back injury. After the hit and when the trainers came out, Ryan couldn’t move his legs. The next morning he was taken to the hospital and found out that he had a spinal contusion! He got surgery to help his back heal faster and was ruled out for the rest of the season. During that time he found out that, not only had he been selected to go to the pro bowl that season, but also that he might never walk again. Shortly after, Kevin Colbert, the General Manager for the Steelers, told the public that Shazier would also not play during the 2018 NFL season either. This whole season was very slow for the athlete. According to his teammate and fellow linebacker Joey Porter, he jogged for the first time at around the end of the year of 2018.
Currently, Ryan is on the Reserve/ PUP (Physically unable to perform) list until further notice. This initially seemed sad to me until I saw the most incredible thing tonight.
Tonight, Ryan Shazier got married (Congrats man that’s awesome!). After coming across a video of him, something was different. He was dancing with his wife! Yes, the man who was told one and a half years ago that he might not be able to walk again got to dance with his wife at his wedding on May 4 2019, and his dance moves weren’t even that bad! 😉
After re-educating myself on Ryan Shazier’s career, this recent news excited me! It not only reminded me that the Steelers are going to get their rockstar middle linebacker back, but also that a very important athlete had overcome a major storm in their life, and finally just got to enjoy the present. So brace for impact because we could be influencing the greatest comeback story of the decade!