Sean Spence was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. Spence played linebacker at the University of Miami where he had a tremendous career that including being named Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008.
Spence suffered a severe knee injury in his 4th preseason game of 2012. He was unable to play the entire 2012 season due to that injury. This was highly disappointing, as Spence led the team with 14 tackles over the course of the 4 preseason games and was showing major signs of being a promising player.
Spence damaged 3 ligaments in his knee and had to undergo major surgery to repair them. Along with the ligament damage the peroneal nerve that is located behind the knee was also damaged; this was more serious than the damage done to the ligaments and requires a very specific, gentle healing process.
Despite the devastating injury, Spence has been working very hard to get himself healthy in an effort to return to the field as quickly as possible. Spence has been limited when it comes the physical play but has been flexing his mental muscles. Spence has been studying Dick LeBeaeu’s defense for quite some time and has attended practices to observe his fellow teammates.
Spence claims to have regained some of his speed and has told the media he’s been making cuts on his damaged knee as well. Spence also believes that he can return to the field by midseason.
Keith Butler, Steelers’ linebackers coach has a different opinion and believes that it would be nothing short of a miracle for Spence to return this season. Head coach Mike Tomlin never gave a full fledged answer on when he thought Spence would return but expects him to make a full recovery.
The Steelers will carry Spence with them on the injured reserve list and will continue to evaluate his knee over the course of the season. If all goes well, perhaps Spence will see the field this season.
Spence told the media “I’m humbled by the situation and I’m just going to continue moving forward.”
A humbling attitude along with a fierce work ethic are the key components to devising and following through with a major comeback. It truly is discouraging to see something like this happen to a player who has a lot of potential. However, it’s also extremely inspiring to watch a player who has been knocked down, rise up and come back swinging. Hopefully this will be the case with Spence and we as fans can witness the comeback and be there to cheer him on every step of the way.