Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier told Roosevelt Nix on his teammate's podcast that he is intent on resuming his football career and that he wants to be one of the best linebackers in the history of the NFL.
The podcast marked Shazier's first interview since his serious spinal injury on Dec. 4.
Shazier made it clear that he isn't giving up his football career.
"I gotta get back, bro," Shazier told Nix, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Right now I'm reading a book and it's basically saying trust the process. I'm really trusting the process. I know the end goal. So I'm taking every step of the way, I'm giving everything I got. The therapists are like, 'Man this is crazy; I've never seen anyone work this hard.' They almost see progression every day.
"They say like some progressions they see week to week, they see from me day to day. I'm really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler."
Shazier admitted he's bidding for an even loftier goal, too.
"I'm still reaching for that Hall of Fame because I really feel I'm the best linebacker ever," Shazier said on the podcast. "I just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I'm saying?"
Shazier hit Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone low with his shoulder pads, then immediately reached for his back while his legs remained motionless during a game on Dec. 4. Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery two days later.
The 25-year-old was discharged from the Rehabilitation Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center earlier this month. Shazier posted a picture of himself standing next to Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on that day.
"People were thinking Ben was supporting me, too - he barely was even holding me," Shazier said on the podcast.
Shazier finished with 89 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 11 passes defensed in 12 games this past season. In four NFL seasons, Shazier has 299 tackles, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and seven interceptions.