An emotional return of a former player awaits Ohio State fans attending the 2018 Spring Game on April 14.
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who has been recovering from a drastic spinal surgery after having a major injury in a game Dec. 4, will return to Columbus with Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins to serve as honor coaches for the scrimmage.
“I’m thrilled and I can’t wait to see these two heroes back in Ohio Stadium,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said in a statement. “The respect and admiration I have for each of these young men is off the charts, and I am so proud for our program and for the Ohio State fans that these players want to come back and be a part of our spring game.”
Shazier was injured in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the injury left him unsure if he could continue his professional career. It also had been reported that he was unable to walk on his own and that he lost feeling in his legs for a time. The No. 15 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Shazier said he is expecting to return to the NFL.
Before his injury, Shazier started 42 NFL games and totalled 299 tackles, including seven sacks and seven forced fumbles in four seasons. He also has picked off seven passes and recovered three fumbles. At Ohio State, he was a first-team All-American in his junior season — his final collegiate campaign — and finished with 315 total tackles, 15th-most in program history.
Joining Shazier will be Jenkins, a two-time Super Bowl champion who won his second Super Bowl as a Philadelphia Eagle in February. Jenkins has played in the NFL for nine seasons after he was drafted 14th overall out of Ohio State in 2009 by New Orleans.
He has made the Pro Bowl twice, and has become known for his social activism. Between his five seasons with the Saints and four with the Eagles, he has appeared in 135 games — started in 127 — with 695 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 16 interceptions, 12 forced fumbles and eight recovered.
Jenkins was well recognized during his time at Ohio State, winning the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation’s top defensive back as a senior in 2008. He was a consensus first-team All-American in 2008 and was first-team All-Big Ten every year from 2006 to 2008.