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Ryan Shazier wants to play in the NFL again, but it won’t happen in 2018

The spinal injury Shazier suffered last season will keep him off the field this year.

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Shazier plans to play football again. But it won’t happen this season, according to Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert.

Colbert said at the NFL Combine on Wednesday Shazier will be sidelined for the 2018 season while he continues his recovery.

Shazier suffered a serious spinal injury while making a tackle on Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone in the first quarter of Pittsburgh’s Week 13 win in Cincinnati. Shazier went to the ground clutching his back and was secured on a backboard and carted off the field.

He underwent spinal stabilization surgery and was able to begin rehab within days. Shazier has made incredible progress. He was released from inpatient rehab Feb. 1, and he has regained feeling in his legs. Shazier confirmed that he is able to stand and walk with assistance.

That’s encouraging, and Shazier told teammate Roosevelt Nix that his goal is not just to get back on the field.

“I’ve gotta get back, bro,” Shazier said on Nix’s podcast. “I’m still reaching for that Hall of Famer.”

But it will be a long road back to the NFL for Shazier, and that journey won’t begin for him this year.