Steelers LB Ryan Shazier said Wednesday that he’s still aiming to make a comeback and return to playing football.
“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.”
As of now, Shazier is still using a cane to walk around, but he’s hoping to get rid of the cane at some point in the near future.
“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.”
Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery Dec. 6 after suffering a major injury while making a tackle against the Bengals.
Earlier this offseason, the Steelers converted $8.26M of Shazier’s 2018 base salary into a signing bonus before placing him on the reserve/PUP list.
Shazier, 25, is a former first-round pick of the Steelers back in 2014. He was in the final year of his four-year, $9.5 million contract and set to make a base salary of $1,284,292 for the 2016 season when the Steelers picked up his fifth-year option this past May.
Shazier will earn an $8.718 million salary for the 2017 season, which is guaranteed for injury only.
In 2017, Shazier has appeared in 11 games and recorded 87 tackles, three interceptions, a fumble recovery, two forced fumbles and 10 pass defenses. Pro Football Focus has him rated as the No. 8 inside linebacker out of 87 qualifying players.