Sean Spence, an inside linebacker that the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft, has been the subject of much speculation during this offseason as it pertains to his rehabilitation from a gruesome knee injury that ended his rookie year in the last preseason game.
At the time, he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, lateral cruciate ligament, and dislocated kneecap, but it was not revealed until later that he also suffered damage to the peroneal located behind the kneecap. The peroneal nerve supplies movement to the lower extremities below the knee, and recovery from damage is far from guaranteed.
Today was the first time that he spoke publicly to the media since the injury back in late August. Following the drafting of inside linebacker Vince Williams in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, linebackers coach Keith Butler said that it would be miraculous if he played even next year.
Head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert sounded a less pessimistic tone, but it is best to hear it from the Spence himself. Check the list to see what he had to say about his rehabilitation process.
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Sean Spence had his rookie season ended abruptly after suffering a gruesome knee injury late in the preseason finale last year. In the process of tearing his acl and mcl and dislocating his knee cap, it was later revealed that he also suffered damage to the peroneal nerve located behind the knee cap, which proved to be the biggest obstacle in his recovery and left some skeptical if he would ever play again.
Spence was not among them, however. In his first media session since the injury, the second year linebacker noted that he is running now, but is not participating in OTAs as a precaution. He had an air of confidence as he said that he knows that he is going to be among the few who are able to beat the odds and come back from the nerve damage that he suffered, though he admitted that it is healing slowly. He added that he is preparing himself this offseason as though he is gearing up to play in 2013, which would be quite a pleasant surprise to all.
Beyond simply being a well-loved teammate and a natural leader, Spence seemed destined to be the heir apparent to the inside linebacker position manned by James Farrior and now Larry Foote. His high football IQ and explosiveness to the ball after diagnosing the play were evident during the preseason, which is why all in the organization are doing all they can to stick with Spence as he attempts to come back from the injury, even if it means stashing him away on injured reserve for another season. If Spence is to be believed, however, he will be out there at some point this season, even if only on special teams.