Jerome Howard and Ryan Shazier grew up together. Now, as one attempts to reclaim past abilities, the other attempts to inspire through actions and words.
Jerome Howard wants to help. Just ask Ryan Shazier.
Howard, 26, was a terrific football player during his collegiate days. He was a star at Prairie View A&M, earning All-SWAC honors three times and All-America twice. In 2014, he was the SWAC Player of the Year.
Today, with pro football never becoming a reality for Howard, he’s turning to a higher call. Motivation and inspiration.
Howard is a fitness professional who moved to Pittsburgh to be near Shazier, a Steelers inside linebacker who suffered a devastating spinal injury in Dec. 2016 against the Cincinnati Bengals. The two played high school football together at Plantation High School in Florida, becoming fast friends as teenagers.
While Shazier future is unknown, his story continues to uplift. A man at the peak of his physical ability cut down, only to wear a smile and show determination to come back. For Howard, seeing his friend improve daily is a constant source of fuel.
“Even when it’s looking bad, God is still good,” Howard says.
With Shazier on the mend, Howard has slowly been making his own name. The owner of Dynamic Performance Development, Howard recently published a book, So Now What?, tackling life’s challenges. It’s inspirational in message but practical in thought, giving real-world advice including a stress on society needing to regain a sense of accountability. The work can be found on Amazon or the site of Howard’s company.
Howard is also taking his lessons and implementing them first-hand with the youth. He does an annual football camp in Plantation, The Takeover, helping to teach skills in multiple arenas. Ultimately, as Howard succinctly puts it, the wisdom can be applied both on and off athletic fields.
“We all play the same game in a different stadium.”
For now, Howard and Shazier will continue putting in countless hours, looking to convert first downs into an eventual touchdown.
Not bad for a couple kids from Plantation, looking to improve themselves and the world around them.