It's been nearly eight months since Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a spinal injury while making a tackle in a game against the Bengals. The hit ended his season and left serious doubts about his future, though Shazier has maintained that he plans to play again.
General manager Kevin Colbert announced in February that the linebacker wouldn't play in 2018 but added that the Shazier will remain involved with the team while he works toward his long-term goal of getting back on the field.
As CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora , that involvement has included Shazier breaking down film, and he could eventually pursue coaching after his playing career. On Saturday Shazier was spotted walking with a cane will working with the Steelers linebacker.
In late May, Shazier's father, Vernon, told ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler that the linebacker, adding that the hope was that Shazier would soon be able to walk without assistance. Two months later, and Shazier appears to be well on his way.
In February, Shazier told teammate Roosevelt Nix that not only does he plan to play again, but his goals of making into Canton haven't changed either.
"I've gotta get back, bro," Shazier said at the time 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. ... I'm still reaching for that Hall of Famer. I really feel like I'm the best linebacker ever. I've just got to get back out there so everybody can see it."
The Steelers' biggest question heading into training camp was who would replace Shazier in the middle of the defense. The team signed veteran Jon Bostic during free agency but surprised many people when they didn't take a linebacker in the draft. They signed former Florida State standout linebacker Matthew Thomas as an undrafted free agent, and he has a chance to make the team with a good showing in practices and preseason games.