Ryan Shazier was a show-stopper yet again.
The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker produced the moment of the NFL draft Thursday night when he walked onto the AT&T Stadium stage in Dallas to announce his team’s first-round pick, safety Terrell Edmunds, at No. 28 overall.
Flanked by fiancée Michelle Rodriguez, Shazier made the walk from the corridor to the stage after being introduced by commissioner Roger Goodell.
“He inspires us all,” Goodell told the crowd.
Shazier took to Twitter later Thursday night to thank his supporters.
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) April 27, 2018
Shazier, who underwent spinal stabilization surgery in December after a Week 13 hit against the Cincinnati Bengals, has made incredible progress the past few months. He was released to outpatient treatment two months ago and attended Ohio State’s spring game earlier this month.
Asked how the Shazier appearance came about, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert cited the linebacker’s personal goals.
“When he was ready to walk, he was going to make that determination,” Colbert said. “Since he had been working with us in the draft preparation, we thought that would be a good opportunity. It was up to him. He did great. It’s amazing.”
Colbert said he would let Shazier tell the rest of the story.
Teammates have privately lauded Shazier for his ability to walk on his own, though Shazier has been private about his process.
This offseason, Shazier told teammate Roosevelt Nix on a podcast that he plans to resume playing at a high level. Shazier is under contract for $8.718 million but will not play this season.
Shazier has spent most days at the Steelers’ facility working out or helping in the scouting department. The Steelers see improvement all the time.
“He’s taken some very inspirational steps,” Colbert said. “That’s a huge lift not only for him but for us. To see where he’s come from to where he is and knowing where he might be able to go, it’s just beyond inspirational.”