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Healthy and healed, Steelers LB Sean Spence makes return from near catastrophic knee injury

Fourteen months after Sean Spence's football career appeared to be over, the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is back at work.

Spence practiced with his teammates on Wednesday for the first time since shredding his left knee in a preseason game against Carolina in August 2012. Spence tore two ligaments, dislocated his kneecap and sustained extensive nerve damage.

The Steelers activated the former third-round pick off the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday. Spence says he's not sure when he'll be ready to play in a game but called getting cleared for contact an important step.

Pittsburgh selected Spence with the 86th overall pick in the 2012 draft hoping he would develop into the eventual heir to veteran Larry Foote. Those plans appear to be back on.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org