Steelers LB Shazier says he's 'best linebacker ever'
Ryan Shazier believes he is the "best linebacker ever" as the injured Pittsburgh Steelers star continues to overcome a spinal injury.
Shazier, who is still recovering from a back injury sustained during an NFL game in early December, said he still hopes to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I gotta get back," the 25-year-old, who has been recovering from a spinal stabilization surgery in December, said on a podcast with Steelers team-mate Roosevelt Nix published on Tuesday.
"Since I've been in college, I really wanted to go to the Hall of Fame. I still want to go to the Hall of Fame. All my goals are like making me want to go to the Hall of Fame.
"I have a paper that has all the Hall of Fame linebackers. I've got to be one of the best players. I really feel I have the ability...I'm still reaching for that Hall of Fame because I really feel I'm the best linebacker ever. I just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I'm saying?"
Shazier told Nix that he tries to get at least "12 tackles, a pick, a forced fumble and a touchdown" every game and is doing rehab for his injury at least two hours per day, five times a week to get back to that point.
Despite limited mobility after his surgery, Shazier made appearances at Heinz Field, visited team-mates at practice in January, and stood up at a Pittsburgh Penguins game in the NHL to show his progress from an injury that slowed his lower-body movement.
"Right now, I'm reading a book and it's basically saying trust the process," Shazier said. "I'm really trusting the process. I know the end goal. I'm taking every step of the way, I'm giving everything I got. The therapists are like, 'Man this is crazy; I've never seen anyone work this hard.' They almost see progression every day.
"They say like some progressions they see week-to-week, they see from me day-to-day. I'm really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler. I'm sorry, because I feel I got snubbed this year for All-Pro even though I got hurt. But I feel like my stats are as good as those who made it."