Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Ryan Shazier Officially Retiring Nearly 3 Years After Spinal Injury
"To lose the game in the way I never envisioned has not been easy," the NFL star said in a video addressing his decision to retire from the sport
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is retiring from the NFL.
On Wednesday, the football player, 28, shared a video message posted on social media, where he revealed that he is leaving the sport nearly three years after suffering a spinal injury during a 2017 football game.
"It's been over 1,000 days since I got hurt on the field," Shazier said in the video, addressing his retirement. "To lose the game in the way I never envisioned has not been easy. When you play the game of football the way 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," he continued. "For 20 years, he let me play football. And now it's time for me to do what he wants me to do. I'm going to step away from the game for a while to see what else life has to offer."
Shazier suffered the serious spinal injury during a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He later required spinal stabilization surgery back in 2017 and had to re-learn how to walk.
After his injury, the Steelers suspended the athlete's contract for two years, allowing him to remain with the organization on the physically unable to perform list and receive medical care, according to NFL.com. But in March, the Steelers placed Shazier on the reserve/retired list.
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Also during the video, Shazier said that football gave him, "everything I could ever want and more," before he added, "It taught me about hard work, dedication, teamwork."
"It took me to college and the NFL. It made me money," he said. "It gave me a life that most people can only dream about. I'm here today to make sure the world knows how much I still love football. How grateful I am for everything football gave me."
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Shazier was the Steelers' first selection in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ohio State and was the 15th player taken overall, Steelers.com reported.
At the time of his injury in the 2017 season, the outlet said that Shazier was tied for the most interceptions among AFC linebackers, tied for second among all AFC defensive players in solo tackles, and was leading all NFL linebackers with 11 passes defended.