Steelers ink third-round linebacker Sean Spence

AP

The Steelers previously had signed seven of their nine 2012 draft picks.  No. 8 is now under contract.

Per a league source, the Steelers have agreed to terms with former Miami linebacker Sean Spence.

A third-round pick and the 87th overall selection in the draft, Spence will likely earn dollars in the range of $2.67 million during the four years of his deal.  His signing bonus likely will be in the range of $545,000.

The rookie has some big shoes to fill; the team has issued Spence No. 51, most recently worn by James Farrior.

“I’m happy to have it but I think if they would have drafted another linebacker they would have got the same number,” Spence recently said.  “Luckily they drafted me.”

Spence is undersized at 5’11” and 230 pounds.  But the Steelers, who know a thing or two about linebackers, see something special in him.

“Hey, I’ve never been the biggest guy in the room,” Spence said. “I never let that bother me and I’m not going to let it happen now.”

With Farrior gone and guys like James Harrison and Larry Foote getting older, Spence is part of the future at the position.  The Steelers wouldn’t have picked him if they didn’t believe he could fill the role.