Ryan Shazier
refer to caption
Shazier signing autographs in 2014
No. 50
Personal information
Born: (1992-09-06) September 6, 1992 (age 31)
Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school:Plantation (Plantation, Florida)
College:Ohio State (2011–2013)
NFL draft:2014 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:299
Forced fumbles:7
Fumble recoveries:3
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Ryan Dean Shazier (/ʃˈzɪər/; born September 6, 1992) is an American former professional football player who was a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Ohio State Buckeyes and was selected by the Steelers in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

Shazier had a successful first few seasons in the NFL, including a Pro Bowl appearance in 2016. During the 2017 season, in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Shazier attempted to make a head-first tackle that left him a paraplegic, after which he had to have spinal stabilization surgery and learn to walk again. After spending two seasons on the Steelers' physically unable to perform list, Shazier announced his retirement from football in 2020.

College career

Shazier initially committed to play for Urban Meyer at Florida but rescinded his commitment after Meyer resigned as the Gators head coach. He then committed to play under Jim Tressel at Ohio State, but Tressel resigned five months later and was eventually replaced with Urban Meyer.[1]

As a true freshman, Shazier played in every regular season contest and started 3 games. His first start came near the end of the season against Penn State, where he recorded 15 tackles. He started the next two games and ended his season with 57 tackles, 5 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles.[2]

In 2012, he started all 12 regular season games for Ohio State. Against Penn State, Shazier posted 8 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception in the third quarter that he returned for the game-deciding touchdown. In a victory against Wisconsin, he had 12 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and he made a game-saving tackle on a goal line stand on fourth and inches. He would finish 2012 leading the Big Ten Conference with 17 tackles for a loss and place second in the league with 115 tackles. Shazier also had 5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles for the season.[2]

Against Indiana in 2013, he posted more than 20 tackles and tied the school record with 16 solo tackles and 5 tackles for loss. He was voted a first-team All-American by the Associated Press, USA Today, ESPN.com, and Sports Illustrated. His 101 solo tackles were the second best in the league and his 143 tackles led the Big Ten. He also had a career-high 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles.

On January 5, 2014, Shazier announced that he would forgo his senior season and enter the 2014 NFL draft.[3]

Shazier finished his career at Ohio State with 315 tackles, 208 solo tackles, and 14.5 sacks.

College statistics

Season Team GP Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Cmb Solo Ast TfL Sck Int Yds Avg TD PD FF FR Yds
2011 Ohio State 13 58 38 20 5.0 3.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0
2012 Ohio State 12 115 70 45 17.0 5.0 1 17 17.0 1 0 0 0 0
2013 Ohio State 14 144 102 42 23.5 7.0 0 0 0.0 0 4 4 0 0
Totals[4] 39 317 210 107 45.5 15.0 1 17 17.0 1 4 5 0 0

Professional career


Coming out of Ohio State, many analysts and scouts projected him as an early-to-mid first round draft selection. He was ranked the third best outside linebacker and the 19th best prospect by NFLDraftScout.com.[5] He was invited to the NFL Combine and was able to perform almost all the workouts and positional drills except for the 40, 20, and 10 yard dash. Shazier also participated at Ohio State's Pro Day and was able to finish the drills he didn't complete at the combine. He received numerous positive reviews for his athleticism, agility, production, flexibility, acceleration, strong hands, and lateral movement. Most negative reviews by analysts were based on his lack of ideal size and his under developed vision, instincts, anticipation, and awareness.[1]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 1+18 in
(1.86 m)
237 lb
(108 kg)
32+38 in
(0.82 m)
10 in
(0.25 m)
4.38 s 1.56 s 2.58 s 4.21 s 6.91 s 42 in
(1.07 m)
10 ft 10 in
(3.30 m)
25 reps
All values from NFL Combine and Ohio State's Pro Day.[6][7]


Shazier with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Shazier in the first round with the 15th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.[8] He was the third linebacker taken in the draft behind Khalil Mack (5th) and Anthony Barr (9th).[9] On June 5, 2014, the Steelers signed Shazier to a fully guaranteed four-year, $9.50 million contract with a signing bonus of $5.23 million.[10]

Shazier began the season as the starting left inside linebacker. He made his professional regular season debut and first career start in the Steelers' home opener against the Cleveland Browns. In his first career game, he made six total tackles (five solo) and a pass deflection. The following week against the Baltimore Ravens, he had 15 total tackles, with 11 of them being solo, in a 6–20 loss. Shazier missed weeks 4–7 of his rookie season with a knee injury. He returned for his first game back from his injury on October 26, 2014, against the Indianapolis Colts. He finished the game with four tackles (two solo tackles). After playing two games, Shazier then injured his ankle and missed another four games.[11] After returning, Shazier made six combined tackles in a 27–17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals on December 24. Following an 11–5 season the Steelers made the playoffs. In his first career playoff game, Shazier made 3 solo tackles and one assist in a 17–30 wild-card loss to the Baltimore Ravens. In his first season, he finished with a total of 36 tackles, 24 solo tackles, and a pass deflection in five starts and eight games.


After his rookie season, Shazier returned the next season to again be the starting inside linebacker. On September 10, 2015, Shazier made five solo tackles and two assists in the season opener at the New England Patriots. The next game against the San Francisco 49ers, he left the game with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter after making a career-high 15 total tackles and 11 solo tackles. He also sacked 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his first career sack. Shazier missed weeks 3–6 with nerve damage in his shoulder.[12] After returning, he made five solo tackles, one assist, and a sack in a Week 10 win over the Cleveland Browns. On November 29, 2015, he sustained a concussion and left in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks. On December 20, 2015, Shazier made three solo tackles, three assists, and three pass deflections in a 34–27 win over the Denver Broncos. He also made his first career interception, after picking off Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler.[13] On January 9, 2016, during the AFC Wildcard game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Shazier stripped the ball from Jeremy Hill with 1:36 left in the fourth quarter. The ball was recovered by Ross Cockrell, leading to the game-winning field goal from Chris Boswell. Shazier finished the 18–16 victory with nine combined tackles and two forced fumbles.[14] He finished the season with 87 combined tackles, 312 sacks, and an interception in 12 starts and 12 games.


Shazier returned to his starting inside linebacker role to begin the 2016 season. He started the Steelers' season-opener against the Washington Redskins and made six combined tackles, two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and intercepted Kirk Cousins as the Steelers routed the Redskins 38–16. The next game, Shazier recorded a season-high 12 combined tackles in a 24–16 victory over the Bengals. He re-injured his knee the following game against the Philadelphia Eagles and was inactive from Weeks 4–6.[15] He made his return in a Week 7 matchup against the New England Patriots and was limited to two assisted tackles and a pass deflection in the 27–16 loss.[13] On November 20, 2016, Shazier racked up seven total tackles, a pass deflection, and sacked Josh McCown for his first of the season, as the Steelers defeated the Cleveland Browns 24–9.[16] On December 25, 2016, he recorded ten combined tackles and intercepted Joe Flacco in a 31–27 playoff clinching victory over the Baltimore Ravens. The next game, Shazier made eight combined tackles and intercepted Robert Griffin III in a 27–24 win over the Browns on their season finale.[13]

He finished the regular season with 87 combined tackles, 9 pass deflections, 312 sacks, and 3 interceptions in 12 starts and 13 games.[13] On January 8, 2017, Shazier recorded six combined tackles and intercepted Matt Moore, as the Steelers defeated the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Wildcard game 30–12.[17] On January 15, 2017, he recorded 5 combined tackles and intercepted Alex Smith in the Steelers' 18–16 Divisional Round victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.


On April 24, 2017, the Steelers picked up the fifth-year option on Shazier's contract.[18] On September 10, 2017, he had one of the best statistical games of his career, tying a career-high with 11 solo tackles and forcing a career-high of two forced fumbles during a 21–18 victory over the Browns.[13]

Spinal injury

During a Monday Night Football game against the Bengals on December 4, 2017, Shazier sustained what appeared to be a severe back injury after a head-on tackle. The hit left Shazier seemingly unable to move his legs. After stabilization he was taken to the hospital and the next morning revealed that he had sustained a spinal contusion.[19] On December 7, Shazier underwent spinal stabilization surgery to secure the injured section of spine and to aid in his recovery.[20] The surgery ended his 2017 season.[21][22] But despite the injury, Shazier was named to his second Pro Bowl on December 19, 2017.[23] He was ranked 47th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2018.[24]

On February 28, 2018, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert announced that Shazier would not be able to play during the 2018 season.[25] On April 26, 2018, Shazier walked onto the AT&T Stadium stage with his fiancée, Michelle Rodriguez, to announce the 28th pick of the NFL draft, Terrell Edmunds.[26] On May 2, the Steelers placed Shazier on the reserve/PUP list, ending his 2018 season.[27] On November 30, 2018, Shazier jogged for the first time since his spinal stabilization surgery, according to Steelers linebacker coach Joey Porter.[28] On April 29, 2019, the Steelers placed Shazier on the reserve/PUP list, ending his 2019 season.[29] The Steelers placed Shazier on the reserve/retired list on March 17, 2020, effectively ending his playing career.[30] On September 9, 2020, Shazier announced his retirement from the NFL.[31][32]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
GP GS Cmb Solo Ast Sck Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD FF FR Yds
2014 PIT 9 5 36 24 12 0.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0
2015 PIT 12 12 87 55 32 3.5 1 0 0.0 0 0 4 2 1 0
2016 PIT 13 12 87 55 32 3.5 3 0 0.0 0 0 9 3 1 0
2017 PIT 12 12 89 68 21 0.0 3 2 0.7 2 0 11 2 1 3
2018 PIT 0 0 Did not play due to injury
2019 PIT 0 0 Did not play due to injury
Career[33] 46 41 299 202 97 7.0 7 2 0.3 2 0 25 7 3 3

Personal life

Shazier has alopecia, an autoimmune condition which prevents the growth of hair on the body. Throughout his childhood, he was the subject of ridicule and taunting because of this. However, with support and encouragement from his parents, Shazier developed an altruistic temperament to deal with the jabs and name calling.[34] In May 2017, he wrote of his experiences when his hair unexpectedly began growing back.[35]

On May 3, 2019, Shazier married Michelle Rodriguez. Seventeen months after suffering a spinal injury that doctors feared would leave him paralyzed, Shazier was able to dance at his wedding.[36] Shazier has a son from a previous relationship named Ryan Dean Shazier Jr., and another son born in January 2019 to him and Rodriguez.[37] In November 2023, Shazier was accused of infidelity by Rodriguez, and was also discovered to have sent text messages to a girlfriend.[38][39] In January 2024, Shazier filed for divorce.[39]

In the fall of 2019, Shazier returned to college, and graduated in December 2020 at his alma mater, Ohio State University.[40][41]

In January 2023, Shazier partnered with the cannabis company Organic Remedies to launch a line of cannabis products named Steel City Greats.[42][43] Shazier says that while recovering from his spinal injury, he was seeking a "safe, natural alternative to opioid pain medications" and that cannabis provided him with a "restorative healing that allowed [him] to manage the pain through a difficult time in [his] life".[44]


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  2. ^ a b "Ohio State Buckeyes Player Bio:Ryan Shazier".
  3. ^ Ward, Austin. "OSU's Shazier to NFL; Miller returns". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
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  19. ^ Wesseling, Chris. "Steelers LB Ryan Shazier suffers spinal contusion". NFL. Retrieved December 5, 2017.
  20. ^ "Ryan Shazier undergoes spinal stabilization surgery". NFL. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  21. ^ "Ryan Shazier's Spinal Injury Is 'Severe,' NFL Players Union Doctor Says". Huffington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  22. ^ Patra, Kevin. "Steelers place LB Ryan Shazier on injured reserve". NFL. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "NFL announces 2018 Pro Bowl rosters". NFL.com. December 19, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  24. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2018 - No. 47 Ryan Shazier
  25. ^ "Steelers GM says Ryan Shazier won't play in 2018". NFL.com. February 28, 2018. Retrieved February 28, 2018.
  26. ^ "pick". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  27. ^ "Steelers place LB Ryan Shazier on reserve/PUP list". NFL. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Year after injury Shazier chasing dreams one step at a time". Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Retrieved December 5, 2018.
  29. ^ Varley, Teresa (April 29, 2019). "Steelers place Shazier on PUP list". Steelers.com.
  30. ^ Varley, Teresa (March 17, 2020). "Steelers place Shazier on Reserve/Retired List". Steelers.com. Retrieved March 17, 2020.
  31. ^ Smith, Michael David (September 9, 2020). "Ryan Shazier "retiring from the game I love"". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  32. ^ "Steelers' Shazier retiring 'from the game I love'". ESPN.com. September 9, 2020. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  33. ^ "Ryan Shazier Stats". NFL.com. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  34. ^ "How Ohio State's Ryan Shazier overcame constant name-calling and won over Urban Meyer with his 'heart of gold'". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  35. ^ "Bruh". The Players Tribune. May 23, 2017.
  36. ^ "NFL Player Ryan Shazier Dances at His Wedding after Serious Spine Injury". amomama.com. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  37. ^ "Ryan Shazier and Family expecting second child". 247sports.com. July 24, 2018.
  38. ^ "Ryan Shazier's Wife Accuses Ex-NFL Star Of Cheating, Exposes Alleged Texts W/ Woman". TMZ. Retrieved December 1, 2023.
  39. ^ a b Manahan, Kevin (January 13, 2024). "2-time NFL Pro Bowl star — accused of sending how-to sex books to another woman — files for divorce". NJ.com. Retrieved January 13, 2024.
  40. ^ "Ryan Shazier returns to school, looks to complete his degree at the University of Pittsburgh". CBSSports.com. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  41. ^ Shazier, Ryan (December 18, 2020). "Ryan Shazier on Twitter". Twitter.
  42. ^ Linder, Brian (January 28, 2023). "Former Steelers great launches 'Steel City Greats' cannabis line". pennlive.com. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  43. ^ "Ryan Shazier on new business venture". WTAE. January 27, 2023. Retrieved January 30, 2023.
  44. ^ "Organic Remedies Launches New Medical Marijuana Brand Product Line Through Exclusive Partnership With Former Steelers Linebacker Ryan Shazier" (Press release). Carlisle, PA. GlobeNewswire. January 27, 2023.