Ryan Shazier delivered the most dramatic moment of the 2018 NFL draft’s first night when he determinedly walked out to announce the Pittsburgh Steelers’ first-round selection on Thursday.
In Friday afternoon, the former Ohio State linebacker and Steelers first-round draft pick told The Dispatch he wasn’t ready to talk about the experience, though he understood the impact it had made.
Considering it has been just five months since he was left paralyzed from the waist down following a hit he’d made in a game at Cincinnati, it was another major milestone on his road to recovery, which included an appearance at the Ohio State spring game on April 14. That day he did most of his maneuvering by driving a golf cart around Ohio State.
But at the draft at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Shazier gripped the hand of his fiancée Michelle Rodriguez for support and walked with measured steps to the podium. He shook hands with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, then delivered the news that his Steelers had picked safety Terrell Edmunds of Virginia Tech. Shazier posed for photos with the group, then left the same way he had arrived.
Steelers fans in attendance had tears in their eyes, as the TV cameras captured their reaction.
“I’m truly blessed and humbled from all the prayers, love, and support that I have received,” Shazier later wrote on Twitter. “This is what keeps me going. Just continue to #Shalieve.”
That new word has become a catchword for his recovery, his father the Rev. Vernon Shazier coining it soon after his son’s injury to combine Shazier and believe. Vernon Shazier used it again when texted for a reaction to watching his son make his walk.
“As a Father JOYFUL,” he texted The Dispatch. “As a Christian THANKFUL. #Shalieve #Prayfor50.”