Ever since Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson tore up his knee near the end of the 2011 season, made a miraculous comeback nine months later, rushed for 2,097 yards, and won the 2012 MVP award, many players who have suffered from the same injury are saying that they too can make a comeback.
Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III blew out his knee in last season’s playoffs, and he has vowed to be ready by Week 1 of the regular season. Now, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Sean Spence is predicting that he will play in 2013 as well.
Spence was the Steelers’ third-round draft pick in 2012 and unfortunately tore multiple ligaments in his knee in the last year’s final preseason game. In addition to shredding his knee, Spence also suffered nerve damage that has made the recovery process more difficult.
About a month ago, Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler said that it would be a miracle if Spence were able to play in 2014. Furthermore, Butler stated that the team would put Spence on the injured reserve list going into the 2013 season.
Head coach Mike Tomlin begged to differ. Tomlin stated that Spence’s recovery “is going according to plan” and that the second-year linebacker would make a full recovery.
Despite the difference of opinion between Butler and Tomlin, Spence appears to be optimistic of his chances of playing this coming season. “I’m going to continue to attack this like I’m going to play this year,” said Spence. “I know I’m going to beat the odds.”
I understand that Spence wants to get back on the field as soon as possible, but the fact that he has nerve damage in the back of his knee concerns me. Obviously, the organization has that same concern. In this year’s draft, Pittsburgh selected linebacker Vince Williams in the sixth round simply to add depth to the linebacking corps due to the uncertainty of Spence’s future.
I love the optimism of Spence and Tomlin, but I think that I will have to side with Butler on this one. As great as it will be to have Spence on this year’s roster, Pittsburgh seems to have solidarity at the linebacker position for 2013. My advice for Spence is to let the nerves heal completely before going full steam ahead at a comeback to the gridiron.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google