Ryan Shazier has no plans to retire from the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker saying it is his dream to play football again.
Shazier addressed the media on Wednesday for the first time since suffering a serious spinal injury to provide an update regarding his ongoing recovery.
He walked to the podium with a cane and first thanked those who have supported him. Shazier said he is doing "a lot better than expected" and is taking his rehabilitation "one day at a time" with the goal of eventually making his return to the football field.
"My dream is to come back and play football again," Shazier said. "I have that in the back of my mind during rehab and I'm trying to stay positive every single day.
"I would be a liar if I said there haven't been any bad days… but if there were 100 days, probably… two of them are bad."
Shazier required spinal stabilisation surgery after suffering a spinal contusion in a game with the Cincinnati Bengals on December 4.
He acknowledged that the sport comes with risks but is not worried about the possibility of being re-injured if he gets the opportunity to play again.
"I understand football is a dangerous game, things can happen," he added. "I accepted that in the moment. I've accepted what happened to me and kept pushing forward."
The Steelers placed Shazier on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list but converted $8.26million of the linebacker's $8.718m base salary for 2018 into a signing bonus last month.
Shazier, 25, will not be back in action until next season at the earliest but is expected to be seen on the sidelines helping his coaches and team-mates in the meantime.
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