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Injured Steelers LB Ryan Shazier vows to play again

PITTSBURGH (AP) Injured Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier doesn't just plan to play again following a spinal injury. He says he wants to make it all the way to the Hall of Fame.

Shazier opened up to teammate Roosevelt Nix on Nix's podcast, Shazier's first public comments since injuring his spine in a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 4.

Shazier told Nix, who released the podcast on Tuesday night , that he plans to walk again on his own and return to a career that was on the verge of stardom before the injury, one that required spinal stabilization surgery and left him in the hospital for two months.

"I'm really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler," Shazier told Nix. "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."

The 25-year-old is undergoing outpatient therapy and has documented a portion of his recovery on social media. General manager Kevin Colbert said last week Shazier has been a fixture at the team's headquarters watching film. Shazier said it's necessary to keep him mentally sharp while aggressively attacking his rehab.

"I've got to get back," said Shazier, who has not released the exact nature of the injury. "Right now I'm reading a book and it's basically saying trust the process. I'm really trusting the process. I know the end goal. So 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."

Shazier has been vague about specific aspects of his recovery, though he is quick to point out that he can stand on his own, as he did when the cameras cut to him recently while attending a Pittsburgh Penguins game. Either way, Shazier insists he'll one day run back through the tunnel at Heinz Field with his No. 50 jersey on ready to get back at it.

"I'm still reaching for that Hall of Fame because I really feel I'm the best linebacker ever," Shazier said. "I just got to be back out there so everybody can see it. You know what I'm saying?"

Updated February 20, 2018

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