Ohio State announced on Monday that former players Malcolm Jenkins and Ryan Shazier will be the honorary coaches for the football team’s spring game on April 14.
“I can’t wait to see these two heroes back in Ohio Stadium,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said in a news release. “The respect and admiration I have for each of these young men is off the charts, and I am so proud for our program and for the Ohio State fans that these players want to come back and be a part of our spring game.”
Shazier, a linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers who was drafted out of OSU in 2014, is recovering from a spinal injury suffered this past season. He lost feeling in his lower body after making a hit against the Bengals in Cincinnati on Dec. 4.
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He reportedly is making slow but steady progress in his rehabilitation program. Whether he will be able to play football again remains to be seen. But he wrote on Twitter on Sunday that he is taking things as they come.
“The process is about doing the right things, right now, not worrying about what might happen later, or the results, or the whole picture,” he wrote.
Jenkins is a two-time Super Bowl winner, having played safety for the New Orleans Saints as a rookie in 2009 and with the Philadelphia Eagles this year. The 2008 Jim Thorpe Award winner as a senior for the Buckeyes joined the Eagles in 2014.
Jenkins also has become a major activist with community outreach, and has been a leader among NFL players in calling attention to injustices and inequities across the nation. He was the 2017 recipient of the National Football League Players Association’s Byron “Whizzer” White Award, which recognizes community achievement.
Among other efforts, he started the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation, which is committed “to youth development in underserved communities through programs and initiatives that emphasize education, character development, leadership, life skills, health and recreation,” according to its website.
Its focus primarily has been in major cities, including Columbus, where his organization has distributed food and hygiene products to the needy, among other efforts.