As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers second-year linebacker Sean Spence practiced Wednesday for the first time since severely injuring his left knee 14 months ago in the 2012 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
“It felt good,” said Spence after practice. “It held up pretty solid. I have to look at the film to get a better diagnosis of it and continue to build. But it’s exciting, very exciting.”
Spence won’t be removed from the Steelers PUP list this week so that means he won’t play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. The Steelers have three weeks to decide whether or not he is recovered enough to resume his career and the Miami product said Wednesday he is going through the process of learning to trust his knee right now.
“That is going to be the biggest thing,” said Spence. “When you are on the field there is no thinking. When you are rehabbing you have certain landmarks, but when it comes down to playing ball, you just have to go play.”
Back in May, Spence predicted that he would play this season, but on Wednesday, he backed off that prediction a little bit.
“I’m definitely hoping for it, but I’m not going to guarantee anything,” said Spence. “I’m just going to take one day at a time and see where it goes.”
Right now, the Steelers have rookie Vince Williams starting alongside Lawrence Timmons and the two are backed up by Stevenson Sylvester and undrafted free agent Terence Garvin. Should Spence wind up being removed from the PUP list during the three week window, his initial contributions will likely be on special teams. Beyond that, there is an outside chance he could be carved out a third down role in the Steelers nickel sub package defense.
Spence refuses to look that far into the future right now and more than anything he’s just grateful to have a chance to prove he can still play.
“I am just happy and blessed I have this opportunity,” he said.