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Ryan Shazier Was Not Expected to Play in Game Where He Suffered Spinal Injury



Steelers ILB Ryan Shazier

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier’s career was tragically cut short when he suffered a devastating spinal cord injury against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4, 2017. Shazier was an impact player on the Steelers defense and in the prime of his career. In an instant moment, Shazier’s career and life was dramatically changed.

The injury occurred on a routine play, as Shazier closed in on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone, who was running a shallow route. Shazier’s helmet was down, however, and when he made contact with Malone’s thigh pads, Shazier collapsed to the ground, grabbing for his lower back.

In a recent interview with The Athlete Spine, Shazier revealed that he wasn’t even supposed to be play in the game where he got hurt.

“I was actually not supposed to be playing in that game, because in the week before I actually sprained my ankle on like the last play or second to last play against the Green Bay Packers. We already had won the game, I got into a pile and sprained my ankle. So literally that whole week I did not practice, not one rep. I didn’t practice at all, and it was a game time decision, and me, Coach [Mike] Tomlin, and the staff decided that I could get through it.” Shazier said.

After spending two seasons on the Steelers’ physically unable to perform list, Shazier announced his retirement from football in 2020. He helped out in the scouting department for a little, but has since moved on from the organization in complete capacity. He is still involved with charity events with the Steelers and makes frequent appearances, however. He was recently at Mel Blount’s Youth Home All-Star Celebrity Roast honoring Bill Cowher.

Along with being a motivational speaker, writing a book and being an advocate for people who suffer debilitating injuries, Shazier has also tapped into the business world. He officially opened an UFC Gym in downtown Pittsburgh last June. It’s one of many business ventures that Shazier has entered since retiring from the NFL. He also owns a trucking company called Shay Trucking.