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Steelers LB Sean Spence On Completing His Comeback: ‘I Couldn’t Hold My Tears Back’


It’s been nearly two full years since Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence tore up his knee in the 2012 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers, but is comeback is now officially complete as he started Saturday night and played quite a few snaps in the preseason opening loss to the New York Giants.

“Man, it felt to great to get back out there with the guys,” Spence told Craig Wolfley of the Steelers Radio Network after the game. “Made some plays, but I want to go back and watch the film and see the things I messed up on and correct them.”

It was indeed an emotional night for the Steelers former third round draft pick, who admitted that the magnitude of what he was accomplishing got to him prior to the opening kickoff.

“Even before the National Anthem, I couldn’t hold my tears back,” Spence told Wolfley. “I had my helmet on trying to hide, but I couldn’t hold it. It was just a great feeling just be back out here with the team in a game atmosphere. God is good.”

Spence got the start because rookie first-round draft pick Ryan Shazier was unable to make his NFL debut because of a knee or leg injury. The Miami product finished the game with three total tackles and looked as if he hadn’t lost that quick first step of his in the process.

“I’m glad it’s done. One down, three more to go,” he said.

By the looks of things, Spence has a lot more than just three games to go. He’s back.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steelersfan

    He looked great…spence and dri archer were the biggest positives from this game for me

  • Carlos

    Awesome kid, good player… reflects a lot of whats special in this franchise, I couldn´t be happier.

  • William Weaver

    Hard to imagine all the doubt, pain and work he has been through. One tough ombré.

  • Aric Brown

    Limited action on Wheaton but I liked what I saw.. He appears to be who we wanted Emmanuel Sanders to be

  • Aric Brown

    Shazier better not miss too much time… because Spence is hungry

  • Steelers12328882

    Yeah I thought Wheaton looked great on that one reception. Nice pass by Gradkowski. Wheaton needs to work on his run blocking though.

  • Big White

    Did a really good job of finding his way through traffic. Not the biggest guy, but instinctively knew where to press the issue. Very happy for him and that type of persistence is infectious to other guys.

  • Steelers12328882

    This kid is awesome. Looks just as good as he did back in Miami. I’ll tell you what. With the way both Spence and Shark played tonight it’s almost a little questionable that our #1 free agent target was Mitchell and our #1 draft pick was Shazier, cause the guys backing them up are outstanding. No knock against those 2 obviously cause I’m super excited to see Shazier, Mitchell seemed to play well tonight and I know Shark doesn’t play FS, but it’s going to be tough watching Spence and Shark on the sideline.

  • Aric Brown

    I also thought Zumwalt (another “questionable pick” for many of us) had a pretty good showing… and I originally didn’t think he had much of a chance to make this team, but now I’m not so sure

  • Steven Vincent

    Congratulations to Sean for making it all the way back. I dislocated my knee three times when I was younger. It was a total mess. Over a 15 year period I completely rehabbed it using yoga. Now I am playing (flag) football for the first time since I was in my teens,

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I wish there was a way for Spence to start

  • Mitch Chapman

    Awesome news! Inspiring to know he shed a few tears before the game even before the anthems, it just shows how much it means to him and how much work he has put in to get back to this point. GO STEELERS! Fan all the way form little old New Zealand!

  • Steve

    The season is long, Spence will get his chance, just need to be patient.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    True i’m just wondering how it will all work itself out since we have 3 or 4 starting caliber ILB’s

  • Steve

    Stay tuned the season always seems to go quickly.

  • Madi

    Those 2 years of mental reps will count for something. Between the way he looked tonight, and the experience he has over Shazier, I will not be surprised to see him on the field at certain times this year for #50.

  • Steelers@2010

    I agree, that kid was all over the field last night. I like the quick move by Jones too, he had a sack one QB pressure. The defense looked good on the 1st series, got burnt the 2nd series, but overall looked extremely fast. Hopefully this team gets a win next weekend. My man Martavis Bryant didn’t look too good at all.

  • Steelers@2010

    That kid is quick! He is much faster than he plays, I think he will only get better with time.

  • James Miles

    This guy was one of the primary guys I wanted to watch and see how he performed and he played really well. He was always around the ball and made some hard hitting tackles. Welcome back Sean Spence, Steelers Nation was awaiting your return and you did not disappoint! You define what we believe a Steeler player should be. I look forward to watching you for many years to come.

  • steeltown

    Thumpin guys out there.. way to go Spence!

  • Nolrog

    It will work out. They have quite a bit of speed now in the linebacking corps. Speed gives them options to do a lot of different things. I expect that Spence and Shazier will both see plenty of playing time.

  • Nolrog

    While watching games and tape helps, IMO, it doesn’t replace practice time and playing in games. You learn a lot more by doing than by watching. So I wouldn’t exactly call Spence experienced.

  • Madi

    Not even compared to Shazier? He has WAY more than Shazier. 2 years in the NFL while Shazier was in Ohio.

  • cencalsteeler

    Spence to back up Troy and be his successor (could still fill in for Shazier when he needs a breather). Shark to replace Will Allen. 15 would have some speed and some hitters in the backfield.

  • Bill

    All I can say is that it was just so great to see number 51 on the field. I guess some would say it sounds mushy but it warmed my heart and brought tears to may eyes. No matter what happens from here, he is my Steeler’s player of the year!
    Don’t be too hard on Bryant! He wasn’t all bad and we’re not overly endowed with receivers.

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