Linebacker Sean Spence, the Steelers third-round draft pick in 2012, suffered a severe season-ending knee injury against the Carolina Panthers in the 2012 preseason; an injury many thought could have ended his career. He spent the better part of a year rehabbing the knee, spending endless hours in the training and weight rooms.
He opened the 2013 season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, but was cleared to return to practice last October. Not long after he suffered a finger injury, forcing him back on injured reserve for the year.
Spence has been participating in the team's voluntary offseason workouts, and has a clean bill of health to return to full workouts when OTAs begin later this month.
"He's healthy and working," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "So we can't wait to watch him take the next step in this process, which is play football."
Tomlin expects Spence to have some catching up to do, but it won't be like he is starting all over as he has used his time wisely the last two seasons learning the defense and getting stronger.
"I don't think that we'll start from scratch," said Tomlin. "These haven't been empty days for him since he's been here with the rehabilitation process and what he's been able to do in terms of learning our system of football. I'm not going to assume that he's starting from ground zero.
"I think that's to be determined with how he performs and plays, but he's been given a clean bill of health and we'll go from there."