Ryan Shazier made an additional announcement on the day he retired from the NFL. Shazier, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers, announced that he will be part of a weekly podcast on SiriusXM NFL Radio this fall. Shazier said that he is excited to have a platform to offer his opinions on NFL topics while providing the perspective of a recent player.
Shazier was also asked if he would consider a return to football in a non-playing capacity. During his recovery following spine stabilization surgery in December of 2017, Shazier spent two seasons as a member of the Steelers' coaching and scouting departments. Several current Steelers linebackers, including T.J. Watt and Devin Bush, have previously credited Shazier for playing a significant role in their development as players.
"I'm not ever going to cancel out returning to the game," Shazier said during a virtual meeting with the media on Wednesday. "I learned football at 5-years-old, and I feel like, even doing the [podcast] stuff, I'm still going to be learning a lot about football. I just love the camaraderie, just being there with your teammates, being there with your staff … I would never cancel that out."
Shazier said that the last two years gave him a new perspective about the game.
"As a player, you're focused on making the plays," he said. "As a coach, you're focused on telling guys the situations so they can make plays. With the scouting, we're trying to find guys that can make plays 10 years down the road. It's kind of cool because there's just different aspects of the game, and you're looking at it in a different perspective."
Shazier's immediate focus is on his podcast and his foundation, whose mission is to "support and empower" individuals with spinal cord injuries. Shazier, spent three years at Ohio State before turning pro in 2014, is also working to complete his undergraduate his work at the University of Pittsburgh this fall.
Shazier, who continuing his to undergo outpatient rehabilitation, offered a humorous update when asked if he his hit any recent milestones in his recovery.
"My son was running away from me, and it was kind of funny because I actually tackled him as if I was playing a football game," Shazier said with a smile. "I think I tackled him a little too hard, but it was kind of funny and actually an achievement because I was actually about to tackle my son, even though he's not an NFL running back. I thought it was kind of cool to just be able to chase your son and play with him, and he when he tries to run away from you, you can actually catch him."
While his new career goals (as well as the ongoing pandemic) has distanced himself from the Steelers, Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert, in an emotional moment, assured Shazier that he will always have a home within the organization.
"A lot of times when players' careers come to an end, we worry about what that next step is for the players because a lot of times, they don't find their way," Colbert told Shazier near the end of the virtual press conference. "The one thing I want to do is thank you for easing our worries from the day you got hurt to the day we're looking at you today. Never once have you ever said, 'Why me?' And that gives us the strength and gives others the strength to know that any challenge, you can overcome, and you have overcome. And that gives us great security moving forward knowing that whatever that next step is, you're going to be successful.
"I just want you to know, you can retire from the game of football, but you're never going to retire from being a Pittsburgh Steeler."