Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier hasn’t played since he suffered a spinal injury in December 2017. This fall, for the second straight year, he’ll spend the entire season on the Steelers’ physically unable to perform list.

Yet Shazier’s sights are still high, and his Hall of Fame dream hasn’t faded.

“I still want to make the Hall of Fame, still want to be the best linebacker in the NFL,” Shazier said, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’m not giving up on my goals, and the doctors said don’t give up on my goals, so there’s no problem with me doing that. I’m just going to keep working, and hopefully I’m going to be back as soon as I can.”

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.

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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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