The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Sean Spence in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft with the hope he would add to the lineage of standout Steelers linebackers.
However, a gruesome knee injury in the 2012 preseason has kept Spence from appearing in a single game for the Steelers the last two seasons.
Spence suffered a torn ACL and LCL, a dislocated knee cap and nerve damage when he was blocked while chasing after Carolina Panthers backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen.
Spence returned to the practice field for the Steelers last October after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list. After practicing for three weeks, Spence ultimately landed on injured reserve, officially ending his second season in the league.
However, Spence is continuing to progress toward a return that was once thought to require a “miraculous” recovery to even be possible.
According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Spence has participated in all six of the Steelers OTAs over the past two weeks.
“It is still a process,” Spence said. “This is just step one of coming out and competing and reacting off of other guys instead of cones. When I get to Latrobe (for training camp), I will be able to test it even more there.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin said in May he “can’t wait to watch” Spence play football again. Considering how close Spence’s career came to being over, making it back on the field for preseason games should be considered a major accomplishment. If he can make the roster, Spence may be able to give Pittsburgh an unexpected boost on defense.