Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has officially retired from NFL. This morning, Shazier took to his Twitter account to share the emotional message:
Shazier was an outstanding player. Initially committing to play under Urban Meyer at the University of Florida, the Lauderdale Lakes native de-committed and eventually signed with Ohio State, where Urban Meyer would become the head coach five months later.
Under Meyer, Ryan Shazier was an immediate contributor for the Buckeyes. As a true freshman, he played in all 13 games (starting three), racking up a total of 58 tackles, including five tackles for loss and three sacks. In his three years at Ohio State, Shazier played in 39 games, managing 317 tackles, a whopping 45.5 tackles for loss, 15 sacks, and a single pick-6 on his way to earning 1st-team All-Big Ten and First Team All-American honored in 2013.
Shazier continued to impress at his pro day and in the 2014 NFL Combine. At the event, he was able to showcase his elite mix of athleticism (4.36 40 yard-dash) and strength (25 reps on the bench). The Ohio State linebacker ended up being selected 15th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2014 NFL Draft. Shazier would grow into one of the NFL’s most elite linebackers, totaling 299 tackles, seven sacks, and seven interceptions over his 46 games for the Steelers.
Unfortunately, a potentially remarkable career was cut short by a spinal contusion that Shazier suffered during a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals on December 4, 2017:
On an otherwise routine tackle, fans were shocked as they saw Ryan Shazier carted off of the field.
One thousand ten days later, after multiple surgeries and countless hours of rehabilitation, it seems that this injury was too significant an obstacle for Shazier to overcome.
Shazier’s injury is the absolute worst part of being a football fan. No matter your thoughts on the Steelers, Buckeyes, or Shazier himself, one cannot help but be heartbroken by these events. In his video on Twitter, Shazier states that he’s had a dream to play in the NFL since he was five years old. When a person devotes over 20 years of their life to something, no matter what it is, and it is taken from them by no fault of their own, it is completely devastating.
I wish Ryan Shazier luck with his future endeavors. For now, we look back on a great career in which Shazier established himself as one of the top athletes in the world, competed at the highest level, and rose on the biggest stage.