Aug 30, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence (51) is carted off the field after being injured against the Carolina Panthers during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE
Post-Gazette reporter Gerry Dulac confirmed via Twitter Friday what was largely suspected; rookie LB Sean Spence tore multiple ligaments in his knee, and will be placed on injured-reserve, ending his 2012 season.
The news comes in wake of the final roster cuts, as teams scramble to reduce their roster to 53 players. Spence, obviously, will not be one of the 53, despite a preseason that suggested he could see the field a bit on defense, but definitely would have been a contributor on special teams.
With a healthy Stevenson Sylvester, it wasn't likely Spence would have been called on to play too often, but he showed the awareness and speed to see the potential in the rookie out of Miami. If he's able to recover fully (multiple ligament tears require surgery and extensive rehabilitation), he would give the Steelers lots of options defensively. The weight he'd naturally add through the continuance of a strength training program would help him take on blocks a bit easier (he struggled with that a bit in preseason games), but the speed he has would have given the Steelers versatility in their front seven.
A nickel package that had Timmons and Spence along with five defensive backs and four down up front would have been difficult to throw or run against.
For now, we'll let that vision rest until next season, when hopefully Spence is again competing for playing time.
Rookie ILB Sean Spence has multiple torn ligaments in his left knee and will miss the rest of the season.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) August 31, 2012