WATCH: Ryan Shazier walks across NFL Draft stage to announce Steelers' pick in emotional moment

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An emotional moment on Thursday night at the NFL Draft. USATSI

Five months after suffering a severe spinal injury that left him temporarily paralyzed, Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier walked across the stage at the 2018 NFL Draft to announce the team's first-round pick, Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds.

It was a moving, powerful moment that was the highlight of an already exciting first round.

Shazier was injured in the Steelers' Week 13 game against the Bengals. The injury ended his season and leaving serious doubts about his football future. But the 2014 first-round pick and 2017 Pro Bowl selection remained adamant that he would play again, telling teammate Roosevelt Nix in February that not only does he plan to return to the field but his goal of making it into Canton hasn't changed either. 

"I've gotta get back, bro," Shazier told Nix during an appearance on Nix's podcast. "Every day, bro. Every day I'm like -- right now, I'm reading a book and it's basically saying trust the process, bro. I'm really trusting the process and I know the end goal. I'm taking it every step of the way but I'm like, I'm giving it like my football effort, like 1,000, everything I've got."

After he was discharged from the hospital on Feb. 1, Shazier posted this picture to his Instagram account:

I’ve had a lot of 1st downs at UPMC, but you know being the defensive guy I am, my mind is on 3 and out. With that being said, I want everyone to know that I’m moving on to the next step of the process. Today’s a big day for me as I’m officially being released from the hospital. I want to take a moment to thank the people who have helped me the past two months. First and foremost, I want to thank God because at the end of the day I don’t think I’d be making progress without His vision and hands protecting me and my family. I will continue to trust in Him and thank Him, because it all starts with Him. To my family: you’ve been my rock. Words can’t express how thankful I am for you Michelle, RJ, Mom, Dad, and VJ for always being there for me. You’re my everything. To Jerome: my trainer and best friend. Thank you for being there from day 1 and every day after continuing to push me to be better every day. I’d like to thank Dr. Okonkwo, Dr. Harrington, Dr. Maroon, and Dr. Schroeder for their amazing work on my procedure and continuous care. I can’t appropriately express how grateful I am for how quickly you’ve helped me bounce back. I want to thank the medical staff at UPMC for their amazing care, support and therapy they have given me- especially Joe, Nikki, Karolina and Dani. I know the staff will continue to help me find a way to keep on pushing as we continue therapy. The support from my teammates has been truly amazing. From former players to current players and their families- they have helped me and my family day to day with visits and gifts. We can’t thank you enough. I want to thank Mr. Rooney, Coach T, Mr. Colbert, and the entire Steelers organization for the unwavering support they’ve given me. I knew they were an amazing organization, but more than ever they’re family to me. Lastly, I want to thank Jimmy, Candice, and the CAA Sports staff for being here when I need them most. I don’t know if I’d be where I’m at or making the progress I’m making without you guys. I want everyone to know that all of the support and prayers are absolutely being answered. I will continue to work hard and push and find a way back. #Shalieve #Steelers #prayfor50

A post shared by Ryan Shazier (@shazier) on

Five days later, attending a Pittsburgh Penguins game, he received a standing ovation:

And six weeks ago, Shazier shared this video of himself working out. Just a couple of weeks ago, he was able to stand on his own at the Ohio State spring football game.

"The therapists, they'll be like 'man, this is crazy," Shazier told Nix in February. "I'm happy to be working with an athlete because I've never seen somebody work this hard. They see progression almost every day. They say some progression they see week-to-week, they see from me day-to-day. I've got to get it. I'm really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler, still be an All-Pro."

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert confirmed that Shazier won't play next season but says the linebacker will remain involved with the team while he works toward his long-term goal of playing football again. On Thursday, that involvement included announcing the team's first-round pick after first walking across a stage. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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