Let’s First Celebrate The Return Of Sean Spence And Worry About Expectations Later

If things go as planned next week, Pittsburgh Steelers second year linebacker Sean Spence will reportedly return to practice field for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury during the 2012 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers. Since the news first broke about his return on Friday, a few have asked me via email and Twitter what my expectations are for him. As of right now, I don’t have any and neither should you.

For starters, merely getting Spence back on the field is a huge accomplishment in itself. This is young man that many thought would never play again after it was learned he damaged the peroneal nerve in his left knee. That kind of nerve damage can lead to a condition known as drop foot which prevents one from being able to lift the foot at the ankle.

Naysayers aside, Spence vowed to return this year and assuming things go well in practice over the course of the next week or three, he will be activated to the Steelers 53 man roster. As far as what the future holds for the Steelers 2012 third-round draft pick at that point will all depend on his play and ability to get back into football mode.

Assuming he gets activated to the Steelers 53 man roster, one would think Spence would see action initially on special teams. That was the initial plan for him even before he was injured. Him running down the field to cover a kick or punt will be deserving of a standing ovation at this point. Should he only play on special teams the remainder of the season, that should be considered a win for not only Spence, but the Steelers as well.

Now, here is an uplifting thought about Spence. Per the rules of the PUP list, the Steelers could have waited a few more weeks before removing him from it because of the three week window available to them. The fact that they are allowing him to practice as soon as he was eligible to do so per the PUP list rules means they like where he is at right now. In other words, they think he is as ready as he will ever be. If he wasn’t, they would have waited a few more weeks. That’s great news.

This is the part of the post where I am supposed to tell you all not to get your hopes up about Spence, but I am going to refrain from doing that. Spence is a motivated young man that has worked very hard to get to this point. Spence’s hopes have been up for some time now and so too shall ours continue to be. Let’s not worry about expectations right now as there will be plenty of time for that later. Let’s just celebrate his return right now as that in itself beat the expectations of many.

  • T R

    Well said man Well said…

  • Bill Molinaro

    It’s impossible to say how happy I am that this young man has fought back when many said he wouldn’t. I don’t care if he never plays a down, The fact they would bring him back says he’s mostly healthy and that is the greatest news of all. As he said, thank god!

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Regardless of his playing status, because of his comeback I sure as hell the Pittsburgh Steelers give him a big ovation, big announcement because here is an individual who was not only told he couldn’t play football again but lift his foot. Imagine being in this gentleman’s shoes. He shall be used as an inspiration for every other 53 men on our roster until his return and use this as a reminder; season isn’t over until the fat lady sang!

  • gene mann

    Totally this is a super news just for the man getting healthy. I think this is a super field good story especially for the steelers in a very down year. and the plus if he can make an contribution even better.

  • afrazier9

    I think this is a great ucomplishment in its self, but I two think they would not have activated him if he was not ready

  • Douglas Andrews

    Great Job Spence this shows what faith and a no quit attitude can do. Don’t know what kinda player he will become but he’s certainly deserves a standing ovation at least! I see why Coach Butler said they would ride with him this year!

  • Superdriller316

    He could be the modern day Rocky Bleier.

  • george

    Many years ago a young man returned from the Vietnam war with his foot shot up. The docs told this young man he would never play football again. He didnt give up and Art Rooney held a spot for him on the roster. Number 20 Rocky Blier did pretty good for the steelers and heres hoping Sean Spence does as well.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Now if only the rest of the team can use Spence’s comeback in the face of overwhelming odds as inspiration for the rest of the year and win some games 🙂


    If Sean can come back and contribute in any way shape or form this season, it will be just the shot in the arm this team needs.

    Would be great to see him flying around out there after all he has been through.

    Go Spence!!

  • Jonas

    Of course, he won’t be the same player (I guess slower but stronger) but could somebody of steelersdepot make a gif-analysis of Spence in his preseason games? The good, the bad but without the ugly injury!

  • CW

    Regardless of the end results, it is a great story and hopefully Spence makes it back to the field at some point in time. But even if he never plays another down in football again I am thrilled that the team seems to have evaluated him as ahead of schedule and therefore removed him from the PUP list.

    Really hated seeing him so severely injured last year and even if he’s done in football, I hope he has healed well.

  • Shea Fahr

    Most of us are just extremely happy that the young man worked so hard to get back and indeed did…everything he does from here is a bonus. This is Great News!

  • Fritz Baughman

    I think Keith Butler is a prick for the comments he made before the season. I’m glad Spence is proving him wrong.

  • PA2AK

    Keith Butler is probably the most significant voice in the decision to keep a spot for him. Not to be a dick, but if you found his comments prickish…you aren’t familiar with Keith. And I think you are only remembering part of his comments…

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Thank you, Dave. I’m just overjoyed that he gets a chance to be on the field again. Just the thought of seeing him out there practicing is already getting me emotional. Very happy for him!