Spaeth, the team's biggest free agent acquisition this off-season, was placed on short-term IR Sept. 4, and is eligible to return to practice this week. He injured his foot in training camp, and hasn't practiced with the team since August.
When he practices for the first time, the Steelers have three weeks from that day to place him on the active roster, place him on IR or release him. Linebacker Sean Spence will practice today after being on the PUP list since July.
It could be less about his ability to practice, and simply more about numbers. The Steelers signed Richard Gordon yesterday, and Spaeth, a seven-year veteran, could have enough of a grasp over what he'd do in a game plan, they can have him wait a week while they prepare all the tight ends they have, and look for him to return to practice and get back on the roster next week.
Whatever it is, Spaeth's run-blocking presence would be a huge boost, especially after losing Johnson - who was blocking well the last two games.
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