That is the number of days that will have passed between the last football game Sean Spence participated and the next, which is tomorrow.
709 days since Spence has been a football player, rather than a bystander or participant in football activities.
Nearly two entire years since he was first faced with the very real possibility that he would never again play the game that he dedicated much of his life to, in which he set his ambitions to excel as a chosen career.
A lot has changed since then, of course. The defense that he was first drafted to play in is hardly recognizable with so many pieces having been swapped out. That includes a shiny new first-round pick taking over the starting job at his own position, the mack linebacker.
One thing that doesn’t seem to have changed, at least based on what we have seen and heard in practice, however, is the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker’s ability and intuition on the field to make plays, which was on ample display during his rookie preseason in 2012.
And it looks as though that rookie draft pick, Ryan Shazier, will not be able to participate in the team’s opening preseason game tomorrow, which means that Spence will likely get the opportunity to start in his place.
He’s spent the last several days practicing with the first-team defense with Shazier sitting out, as we have previously reported, lining up next to Lawrence Timmons in a glimpse of an alternate universe had Spence never suffered that crushing injury.
One source of consistency in the Sean Spence story has been the unwavering optimism from his head coach, Mike Tomlin, who has routinely expressed his belief that he has the ability to make a full recovery, even when it looked its bleakest.
“I think I’ve been pretty consistent that I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a full recovery. I just know the type of young man that he is, and the type of worker that he is, and those things usually work out for those guys”.
No doubt the unwavering optimism was as much a public statement to his hurting young player as it was anything else, but that just goes to show the type of coach that he is that makes players want to go to battle for him.
And now, for the first time in nearly two years, Spence will be taking the field with his brothers to head off to battle, and most likely with the starters, no less.