Steelers LB Sean Spence practices for first time in over a year and breaks finger

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Nov 5, 2011; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes linebacker Sean Spence (31) in the game against the Duke Blue Devils at Sun Life Stadium. Miami defeated Duke 49-14. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

If you were like me and heavily scouted the middle linebacker prospects in the 2012 NFL Draft, you probably found yourself growing fond of an unheralded prospect in Miami’s Sean Spence. The former Hurricane had a very productive collegiate career, and was drafted in the third-round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, and viewed as a quality pickup who would contribute immediately to an aging Steeler defense.

That never materialized, as Spence suffered a gruesome ACL injury last preseason vs the Carolina Panthers, and an earlier report this offseason suggested that that Spence did damage to the peroneal nerve behind the knee when he tore his ACL and multiple ligaments.

Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this summer it will be miraculous if Spence can play football again, and the team planned to carry him through 2013 on a reserve list in hopes he can recover by 2014 and resume his NFL career.