As we all unfortunately remember, Sean Spence’s rookie campaign came to an abrupt end after his left knee was shredded (ACL & LCL tears, dislocated knee cap, nerve damage) in Pittsburgh’s final preseason game against Carolina last year. Disheartening situation aside, the former Miami Hurricane seems to be very upbeat and positive about his recovery from his gruesome injury. In fact, he even relayed some encouraging news to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about his recovery process and the timetable he is setting for his return:
I’m going to continue to attack this like I’m going to play this year…I’m in meeting [sic] and preparing as if I’m practicing. I’m just going to continue to get better and I’m looking forward to the season.
I know I’m going to beat the odds…I’m not even worried about that. The progress that I have made, the doctors say I’ve already beat the odds. I’m just keeping my faith in God and knowing he’s going to give me another chance.
Last spring, Spence was chiefly drafted to be the Steelers’ sub-package “X-Factor” at the linebacker position, and he probably could have contributed as early as last fall. Unfortunately, before Spence could even be employed as the sub-package “X-Factor” as a pass defender, let alone begin his apprenticeship as the team’s starter at the “Mack” spot, the knee injury derailed him and it looked as if it might have cost him his career.
I for one am happy to hear that Spence is so upbeat and positive about his return, and even more pleased that he could return even as early as this fall. The Steelers however might want to take some extra precautions with their 2012 3rd round pick as he recovers, especially because he suffered nerve damage to such an important body part. Thus, it might behoove both Pittsburgh and Spence if the team puts him on Injured Reserve (IR) once again this fall to allow him another year to rehab and heal.
So while many fans are excited by the potential return of Spence this fall, I for one will temper my short-term expectations on the matter. Make no mistake, I will be delighted if Spence does find a way to play and contribute on the field by the end of the 2013 season. But it would make me just as happy to see Sean return healthy in the fall of 2014 after another year of recovery time. Heck, if the Steelers can get any sort of productivity out of their linebacker and he gets to live out his N.F.L.-dream on the field, then it is a total “win-win” for both parties.
The fact that there is even a discussion that Spence can return to the field of play at all is downright fantastic, especially after how disturbing his injury was. I just hope that he can continue to successfully make strides through his rehabilitation process, especially because the chances for him to make this roster as an inside linebacker will likely still be high once the 2014 campaign begins due to the lack of experienced depth that the Steelers have at the positions.
So congratulations on your progress, Mr. Spence. “Steeler Nation” will be rooting for you to suit up for the Black & Gold one day in the future.
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