Ryan Shazier has been a regular at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex since the season ended, watching film with the scouts and coaches and keeping his finger on the pulse of what is happening with the team this offseason.
Now, thanks to Roosevelt Nix’s recently launched podcast, Shazier is giving everyone insight on how things are progressing for him.
Nix and Shazier teamed up for an entertaining conversation that ranged from video games, to college recruiting, their days playing college ball and everything in between.
Shazier also opened up for the first time about the future, and shared his interest in returning to the field.
"I've gotta get back," said Shazier. "Right now I'm reading a book and it's basically saying trust the process. I'm really trusting the process and I know the end goal. I'm taking it every step of the way but I'm giving my football effort,1,000, everything I've got.
"The therapists, they'll be like 'Man, this is crazy. I'm happy to be working with an athlete because I've never seen somebody work this hard.' They almost see progression every day. They say some progression they see week to week, they see from me day to day. I've got to get it. I'm really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler, still be an All-Pro.
"I'm still reaching for that Hall of Famer. I really feel like I'm the best linebacker ever. I've just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. Since I have been in college I have wanted to go to the Hall of Fame. I still want to go to the Hall of Fame. All of my goals are made for me to go to the Hall of Fame."
Shazier suffered a spinal injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, and later underwent spinal stabilization surgery. He was released from the hospital earlier this month, and has been undergoing outpatient therapy as part of his rehab process.
Shazier shared a photo of him and Ben Roethlisberger standing together before he left the hospital, but took it to the next level at a Pittsburgh Penguins game when he stood up and waved to the crowd.
"I really wanted to do that because I felt like everybody needed to see that," said Shazier. "Everybody saw the picture, but the picture is different. People can frame a picture, you can't frame a video. At the end of the day, everybody saw the picture. People thought Ben was supporting me. He barely was even holding me. I wanted to stand up so people can see Ben isn't just holding me up."
His teammates have been there for Shazier from the moment he suffered his injury, and that support is something that hasn't gone away.
"We want to be his biggest supporters in this whole rehab process," said T.J. Watt. "When you have an injury as significant as him, each and every little step you have to celebrate because it's massive steps towards the right direction. He is so positive and it helps you out. If he can be strong, we can be that much stronger."
Shazier's injury has brought the linebackers even closer than they were before, a true family that is there for someone they love and are praying for.
"It made us appreciate each other and taught us you can't take anything for granted," said Anthony Chickillo. "Every play is precious. This time and moments are precious. Ryan has taught us that. We are going to keep being there for him because we love him. We are going to watch as he continues to improve."
The outpouring of support from teammates, the Steelers organization, the NFL community, and Steelers Nation has been overwhelming to Shazier and something he is thankful for.
"That feels good to know that so many people appreciate me," said Shazier. "People really love me and support me."