INDIANAPOLIS – A Chuck Pagano meeting nearly a decade ago and an Edgerrin James encounter earlier this month at a Florida restaurant.
Yes, those two interactions for Sean Spence played into him signing a contract with the Indianapolis Colts on Monday morning.
Spence could very well be starting for the Colts this fall, and might even be the team's defensive signal caller.
This possibility of such a match in Indianapolis began when Pagano was recruiting Spence out of high school in the fall of 2007. Pagano was the then defensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina.
Even though Spence ultimately stayed home to play for the University of Miami, a relationship was forged, and was not forgotten.
"When I came on my (free agency) visit and went into (Pagano's) office to talk, we just caught up on everything and everything comes full circle," Spence said on Monday after signing with the Colts.
"We always had a great relationship since then. I saw the opportunity to reunite with him and I took advantage (of that)."
Spence's other 'U' connection that helped the Colts' cause was Edgerrin James, the franchise's all-time leading rusher.
After stints with the Steelers and Titans, Spence hit free agency earlier this month looking for his third NFL home.
Once James heard where Spence was looking, the recruiting pitch was coming.
"I just saw (James) in Miami at a restaurant and he told me this was one of the best organizations in the league and I was going to love it here," Spence said.
What the Colts love in Spence is his experience (19 career starts, seven more than the rest of the current linebacker group combined) and his skillset (known as a "sideline-to-sideline" linebacker, a key part in defending pass happy offenses nowadays).
After injuries marred Spence of his first two NFL seasons, he's revived his career of late in missing just two games the past three years.
"Having to sit out two years, that could slow anyone down," Spence says of a rookie knee injury and a 2013 broken finger that sent him to injured reserve.
"It feels like I'm catching up and I have a lot left in the tank. It definitely saved me some wear and tear on my body and I'm just ready to go to work."
Depending on how the rest of the offseason unfolds, Spence's work here in Indianapolis could not only include a starting role, but also the signal calling duties.
D'Qwell Jackson is gone.
Could Spence be the new lead man in the middle of the Colts defense?
"I definitely think I am a tough player and I am hoping we can just change the atmosphere," Spence says.
"We just have to change the culture and get back to the winning ways."
The Colts Sign ILB Sean Spence!
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