Steelers Ryan Shazier announces retirement from NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier announced Wednesday on social media he will officially retire from the NFL.

Shazier, who turned 28 on Sunday, suffered a spinal cord injury three years ago in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers had already placed him on the reserve/retirement list for the 2020 campaign.

Shazier to reportedly host NFL show on The Ringer

Shazier said in his announcement video he was stepping away from the game “to explore some new challenges and different paths.” Per Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, that includes joining The Ringer to host its Tuesday NFL show.

Head coach Mike Tomlin said in August that Shazier was taking time away from the team to focus on “some transitional things in his life.” He has spoken about being a player-coach while staying around the Steelers in the past few years. He said he would consider being a coach after his playing days.

Ryan Shazier in a Pittsburgh Steelers winter hat.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is retiring from the NFL. (Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Shazier hasn’t played since 2017 injury

The linebacker was injured during the opening possession of a testy, violent Monday night game against the AFC North rival Bengals. He grabbed at his back after attempting a tackle and was taken off on a backboard.

Shazier was airlifted from Cincinnati and underwent surgery at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center later in the week. He was diagnosed with a spinal contusion and needed spinal stabilization surgery. Doctors weren’t sure he would ever walk again.

He has made steady progress, and had hopes of a return, but has not played since.

“To lose the game in a way I never envisioned has not been easy,” Shazier said in a video on Twitter. “When you play the game of football the way I did, you convince yourself you are Superman. That nothing can stop you. Then, the moment I got hurt, I stopped being Superman and that was difficult to make sense.”

Staying a Steeler through recovery

Shazier was the team’s first-round pick in 2014 out of Ohio State. He had already established himself as a defensive standout for the Steelers.

After his injury, the Steelers continued to include the two-time Pro Bowler and kept him on the reserve/retired list earlier this season. In 2019 they kept him on the roster and then moved him to reserve/physically unable to perform.

He has been a rallying force for the team and its fans. And his recovery has brought bright moments. He surprised everyone at the 2018 NFL draft by walking across the stage five months after the injury. Last summer he celebrated being able to do a box jump and was able to dance at his wedding.

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