Last week, Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler suggested Sean Spence, the club’s 2012 third-round pick, might never play again after suffering a serious knee injury last summer, with Butler saying it would be “miraculous” if Spence were to come back in 2013 or 2014.
However, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said Saturday he’s optimistic about the prospect of a return for Spence.
“I did hear the opinion regarding Spence,” Tomlin said, according to the Steelers. “My opinion differs. I think he’s going to have a full recovery, but now you have two opinions, neither of which are expert medical opinions. Do with it what you wish.”
In his remarks last week, Butler called Spence a “great kid” who merited an opportunity to stay with the club as he worked to return to the field, and Butler also expressed some hope that Spence could possibly return.
“He’s not only a very intelligent football player but he is going to provide some intangibles in our locker room that we desperately need, I think,” Butler said, according a transcript from the club. “We’re going to ride with him for another year, I think. Hopefully his knee will respond and he can play again.”
This much is clear: the Steelers would very much like Spence to make a comeback, and they believe there is value to having him around the club. On Saturday, Tomlin noted that the injury rehabilitation for Spence, tight end Heath Miller (knee) and Marcus Gilbert (ankle) “is going according to plan.”