Two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Ryan Shazier is officially retiring from the NFL, nearly three years after suffering a devastating spinal injury.
Shazier was drafted in 2014 by Pittsburgh and was immediately considered one of the best young linebackers in football. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2017, his third and fourth seasons in the league.
Against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football in December 2017, Shazier made a head-first tackle, and the resulting collision left him unable to move his legs. He required spinal stabilization surgery, and ultimately had to re-learn how to use his legs to walk.
He was placed on the reserve/retired list by the Steelers in March 2020, which signaled the end of his career, but the linebacker made things official with an announcement of his own Wednesday.
Shazier finishes his tenure in football with 299 tackles, 7.0 sacks and 7 interceptions in 46 games, but he will always be remembered in Pittsburgh for his inspiring recovery from his career-ending injury. In one of the most emotional moments of the 2018 offseason, he walked to the podium at the NFL Draft in a surprise public appearance just five months after the injury.
Amazing moment.— ESPN (@espn) April 27, 2018
Ryan Shazier walks to the podium and announces the Steelers' 1st Round pick.pic.twitter.com/5fbeVQTARj
Shazier's career didn't pan out in the way Pittsburgh fans hoped, but his early on-field impact and difficult recovery from such a life-altering injury have endeared him to Steelers fans for years to come.