It can simply be about the aspects of being on a team. Injuries can rob a player at the peak of his physical ability the opportunity to even just get yelled at by coaches in an effort to improve.
He spoke with Steelers.com reporter Teresa Varley recently,mentioning his appreciation for those aspects of the game.
"I am very anxious to be back practicing with the guys and not separate from them doing rehab," Spence said. "I can’t wait to be coached again, to be part of the meetings, when coach is talking and you feel like he is talking to you. Just all of things I missed make me appreciate it even more now."
His story is no longer all that much different from a player who's worked for three years just to make a roster. Formerly a third round pick, he basically descended to undrafted free agent status due to a knee injury that cost him 2012 and most of 2013. A broken finger that required surgery after finally getting his chance to get on the field last October may have been the final straw with some people.
"I cried myself to sleep," Spence said of his reaction to learning the broken finger, and not the knee, would get him moved from the PUP list to injured reserve in 2013. "I was so mad because I got back to where I wanted with the knee and to have a finger broken and need another surgery, it was so upsetting.
"But it was a blessing in disguise. It gave me more time to heal, more time to learn. The knee held up pretty good last year when the bullets started flying in practice and that was my first time having contact in a year."
From receiving coaching to engaging in contact, perhaps Spence's next step is dishing out tackles. All signs point to him being fully available for the team's minicamp in June, and training camp after that.
He'll get all the coaching he can take in that time. And that's exactly the way he wants it.