His 2013 season was put on ice, must like his surgically repaired right knee after countless hours of rehab landed him in a position to fall just short of his goal.
Spence was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, the final day he was allowed to practice with the team before they either needed to place him on the active roster or on IR.
There's something to be said about missing a goal that seemed so loftly, so unattainable, just 12 months ago.
"There was frustration at first because I worked so hard to get to this point, all offseason, during spring ball and in camp and now I am back in the same predicament," Spence told Teresa Varley on the team's web site. "There is some disappointment, some letdown, but there is a reason to rejoice."
One of those reasons could simply be the fact he's made it as far as he has - the initial prognosis included the possibility of never again being able to walk without a brace. Until the day Spence was put on IR, he says he was doing more than just walking without a brace.
"I beat a lot of odds," Spence told Varley. "People thought I would never be able to walk again without a brace, never be able to run again without a brace. I did all of that. I think unfortunately I just didn’t have enough time. I have a sense of comfort knowing that I will be able to play again."
Spence has two years remaining on his rookie contract, signed in 2012 after the Steelers made him their third round pick of that draft out of the University of Miami. With another inside linebacker, Larry Foote, coming off an injury of his own (biceps tear suffered in Week 1) the Steelers may have competing candidates for Comeback Player of the Year in 2014.
And they may even compete for playing time against one another.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Brown understands benching
- Bills vs. Steelers: No Country for Old Men
- Losing six of eight led to great second half success last time
- Steelers place Sean Spence on injured reserve
- 5 Burning Questions in the Wake of the Steelers Loss to the Patriots
- Steelers Tomlin falls on grenade, shrapnel should hit players too