Shazier determined to continue NFL career after injury

Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers, pictured in January 2017, says he has no plans to retire following the freak injury in December 2017

Los Angeles (AFP) – Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Ryan Shazier said Wednesday he is determined to resume his NFL career as he recovers from a spinal injury that left him temporarily paralysed.

Shazier, 25, told reporters in a press conference he had no plans to retire following the freak injury against the Cincinnati Bengals last December that ended his season.

“My dream is to come back and play football again,” Shazier said. 

“I’ve been working my tail off every single day, so I have that in the back of my mind every single time I go to rehab. I just try to stay positive every day, so I’m just trying to do everything I can to get back.”  

Shazier underwent spinal stabilisation surgery following his injury last December, which occurred after he crashed into Bengals receiver Josh Malone helmet-first. After initially being wheelchair-bound, he has now started walking with a cane.

He said Wednesday he was looking forward to eventually walking unaided.

“One of the things I’m looking forward to doing is… I just want to be able to start walking a little bit more by myself without using a cane,” Shazier said. 

“And if that’s camp, I’m happy for it. If it’s the regular season, I’ll be happy for it.”

The Steelers have placed Shazier on their reserve/unable to perform list, but have guaranteed him more than $8 million (6.8 million euros) of his $8.72 million base salary for 2018.