The Pittsburgh Steelers signed inside linebacker Sean Spence to a one-year contract on Tuesday and the team’s former third-round draft pick practiced with the team on Wednesday. Spence, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, split reps with outside linebacker Arthur Moats at the inside positions during Wednesday’s practice.
Spence was signed due to fellow inside linebackers Ryan Shazier and Tyler Matakevich both suffering injuries during the team’s Monday night game against the Cincinatti Bengals. Both Shazier and Matakevich are expected to miss the Steelers Sunday night game against the Baltimore Ravens and if that’s ultimately the case, L.J. Fort will likely get the start alongside Vince Williams with Spence and Moats serving as their backups.
Rutter reported that Spence said on Wednesday that the defense hasn’t changed since he left after the 2015 season and that’s certainly good news as he should be able to get up to speed very quickly. Spence last played with the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.
As for Moats working inside, the Steelers outside linebacker played some as an off-the ball-linebacker during his first four seasons in the NFL as a member of the Buffalo Bills. With that said, Moats hasn’t played inside any since signing with the Steelers in 2014. In short, Spence would likely be the first option for the Steelers at inside linebacker should anything happen to Williams and Fort.
One byproduct of Moats currently working inside is that veteran outside linebacker James Harrison is now expected to dress for the Sunday home game against the Ravens. Harrison has only played 29 defensive snaps all season and hasn’t been a game day active player since the team’s bye week.
As of right now, it doesn’t appear as though the Steelers have any plans to sign rookie inside linebacker Keith Kelsey to their 53-man roster from their practice squad ahead of the Sunday night game against the Ravens.