The Pro Football Writers of America selected Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier as the winner of the 2019 George Halas Award winner on Monday, an annual award given to an NFL player, coach or staff member who overcomes the most adversity to succeed. A move the PFWA announced via social media
.@steelers LB @RyanShazier, who continues to make remarkable progress after a spinal contusion suffered late in the 2017 season, has been selected as the 2019 George Halas Award winner by the PFWA.— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) June 3, 2019
Shazier becomes the 51st winner of the award, named after legendary founder, owner and head coach of the Chicago Bears, George Halas. Other 2019 nominees also included New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, recently retired Houston Texans safety Andre Hal and teammate James Conner, as per the association’s official website.
PFWA member Ed Bouchette of The Athletic providing an insight in the character of the man that made him such a deserving winner.
“In my 35 years covering the Steelers, I’ve seen many players overcome much adversity, but never have I seen such determination by a player to overcome what Ryan has and to reach a point, physically and mentally, where he is. It’s unbelievable how teammates talk about how he has inspired them. (Steelers VP/general manager) Kevin Colbert and (head coach) Mike Tomlin have spoken many times about what he has meant to the organization, the front office and the players. He has been one big inspiration.
“He’s going to all the meetings, watching film, breaking down opponents, going in with the scouts to watch stuff, looking at prospects at draft time, and he’s on the field every day. He’s made remarkable recovery from an injury where many of us believed he wouldn’t be able to.
“He’s an inspiration to fans as well. His first public appearance was at a Steelers home game. They showed him on the Jumbotron, and the ovation was incredible. Same thing at a Penguins game. At the NFL Draft, he walked without help publicly for the first time. He’s been a tremendous inspiration all the way around.”
Shazier is the third member of the Steelers organization to receive this honor, joining Rocky Bleier in 1975 and John Stallworth in 1985.