Shazier, 26, was a first-round pick in 2014 out of Ohio State. The two-time Pro-Bowler told the Sun-Sentinel that doctors have told him to keep working toward playing again. He has progressed steadily in his recovery process. This spring, he landed a box jump, something he was proud enough of that he posted it to Instagram.
On Dec. 4, 2017, in a Week 13 game at the division rival Bengals, his life changed while making a routine tackle against the Cincinnati Bengals. He slammed head first into wide receiver Josh Malone’s thigh, and fell to the ground. He didn’t move his legs.
Tears streamed down Shazier’s cheeks as he repeated, “I can’t feel my legs.” Back then, it wasn’t clear if he’d be able to walk again. Doctors initially told Shazier he had a less than 20 percent chance to walk again.
But a year and a half later, he was dancing with his bride during their wedding in Pittsburgh. With “This Is How We Do It” playing, he and Michelle Rodriguez hit the dance floor after saying their vows.
Before suffering the spinal contusion that eventually required stabilization surgery, Shazier was a budding star. He racked up 205 solo tackles, 24 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and seven interceptions through the first 46 games of his career.
“I try to be appreciative of every day I get,” said Shazier, who visited his Miami-area high school with some tips for attendees of a football camp. “Because every day I’m beating the odds. Every day, I’m getting better, proving people wrong that never thought I’d be where I am. I constantly am proud of where I’m at.
“There are some moments that people see that are a little bigger than others. I set goals, but every day that I take another step, take another breath, I’m truly thankful and praise God for that.”
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