Steelers place Sean Spence on injured reserve

The Comeback Player of the Year award is given annually to the player in the NFL who overcame the most, in the opinion of the voters, to return to prominence in the league.

Perhaps that award will be Steelers linebacker Sean Spence's to win next year. It won't be this year.

The Steelers placed Spence on injured reserve Wednesday, ending his gallant efforts to return to the field this season, one year after a significant knee injury cast doubts over his playing career.

Spence returned to practice in October, only to break his finger (some reports indicate it was his hand), thus affecting his ability to practice and show his full range of ability.

There was optimism among the team, as well as among Steelers fans, that Spence, the team's third round draft pick in 2012, could not only return to the field, but eventually, see action within the defense. Varying reports obtained by Behind The Steel Curtain indicated he was close physically, but the hand injury set him back enough the team had no choice.

Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET was the deadline to make a decision on Spence, who began the year on the PUP list. His placement on injured reserve means he can no longer practice with the team, although he can participate in meetings.

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