Shazier, who is making progress from a severe spinal injury suffered in the 2017 season while making a tackle, became the 51st Halas Award winner and third Steelers player to receive the honor, joining Rocky Bleier (1975) and John Stallworth (1985).
The Halas Award is presented to an NFL player, coach or staff member that overcomes the most adversity to succeed. The award is named after Halas, who was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a significant figure in the Chicago Bears organization from 1920 until his death in 1983 as an owner, player, manager and promoter. He won 324 games and six NFL championships in 40 seasons as a coach.
"In my 35 years covering the Steelers, I've seen many players overcome much adversity, but never have I seen such determination by a player to overcome what Ryan has and to reach a point, physically and mentally, where he is," The Athletic's Ed Bouchette said in a statement. "It's unbelievable how teammates talk about how he has inspired them. [Steelers general manager] Kevin Colbert and [head coach] Mike Tomlin have spoken many times about what he has meant to the organization, the front office and the players. He has been one big inspiration."
The Steelers selected Shazier in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ohio State. In Week 13 against the Cincinnati Bengals, the linebacker attempted a tackle while leading with his helmet. He couldn't move his legs after the play and underwent spinal stabilization surgery a few days after the injury.
Despite the major injury, Shazier has continued his rehabilitation in the hopes of playing again.
Other nominees for the 2019 Halas Award were Steelers running back James Conner, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, former Houston Texans safety Andre Hal and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.