WATCH: Ryan Shazier walks across NFL Draft stage to announce Steelers' pick in emotional moment
Shazier suffered a serious spinal injury, but he provided the most powerful moment of the 2018 NFL Draft
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:
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.
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