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Sean Spence set to start for Steelers highlights miraculous recovery

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Steelers linebacker, Sean Spence is preparing to start his first NFL game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

As a fan of the Bengals, I find myself rooting against the Steelers frequently.

As a fan of life, I find myself rooting for Sean Spence.

If you 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 Pittsburgh. Spence was viewed as a quality pickup who would contribute immediately to an aging Steelers defense.

That never materialized, as Spence suffered a gruesome ACL injury in the 2013 preseason vs. the Carolina Panthers. A report last 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 later said it would be "miraculous" if Spence could play football again, and the team would carry him through 2013 on a reserve list in hopes he could recover by 2014 and resume his NFL career.

Fast forward to today: Spence is preparing to start his first NFL game Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"It's been a dream of mine since I was a little kid," Spence said of his first NFL start. "It's going to be very emotional. I'll try to hold my tears back; I'm not sure, but I know it will be emotional."