He was an UDFA (undrafted free agent) RB in 2011. He ended up making the Colts 53-man roster, but suffered a Grade 3 hamstring tear in the final preseason game of that year.
Yeah, let me emphasize. He suffered hamstring tear three minutes into the final preseason game, and played through the injury the entire game. That's a level of toughness you don't find very often.
Because of the business side of the game, he was placed on I.R. to free up a roster spot, even though his injury was NOT season-ending in nature.
Spann made the Indianapolis Colts’ 53-man roster this weekend, but was placed on injured reserve the next day. An injury settlement got Spann off injured reserve Monday, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star. He currently is an unrestricted free agent.
“Really, it’s a numbers game,” Spann said. “Right now, with Indy, I made the 53-man roster, but there’s a lot of other injuries on the team as well. We had a bunch of injuries, and you can only dress 46 people in a game. We barely have 46 healthy bodies.
“We had five running backs, and I was the one that was hurt. To make space to get other people in, we put me on injured reserve.”
“My injury is not season-ending,” Spann said. “I could be playing again in two or three weeks, hopefully.”
A player on injured reserve is unavailable for the season. However, Spann and the Colts reached an injury settlement, which Spann defined as “an agreement that I will be injured for a certain number of weeks.”
Spann said he will receive game checks during the time period under the injury settlement. If no team signs Spann, he said he can rejoin the Colts in Week 8.
“Right now, nothing is guaranteed,” Spann said. “The Colts definitely did express a lot of interest in wanting me back in Week 8, as soon as they could. They knew keeping me on injury reserved and losing me for the season is what they didn’t want to do. That’s why we went the settlement route. So hopefully I’ll be back there in Indy.”
So after the injury settlement, which took him off the I.R. and made him a free agent, he rehabbed the hamstring tear and signed to the Tampa Bay Bucs practice squad on October 17th, 2011.
The Bucs suffered a series of injuries at RB shortly thereafter, including Earnest Graham tearing his achilles tendon. With RB Blount pulled on practically all passing, third downs, and 2 minute drills, the "backup" RB was typically seeing more snaps/touches than Blount was during that timeframe. Unfortunately, the injuries never reached far enough down the depth chart, and the Bucs instead chose to go with Mosis Madu since Spann was still learning the new team's offense.
After getting passed over by the Bucs for the active roster, Chad Spann signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers to their practice squad on December 12th, 2011. Shortly afterwards, Rashard Mendenhall suffered his torn ACL, and Chad Spann was promoted to the Steelers 53-man active roster on January 5th, 2012.
Unfortunately, he was released by the Steelers the following offseason, May 2, 2012.
This was from an interview taken with Spann in February of 2012, after the season:
DLF – How is the hamstring injury coming along? Are you feeling fully recovered?
CS – My hamstring is fully healed now. Injured it in the first half of the Colts final preseason game vs. Cincinnati. It took about 6 weeks from then to be cleared to play ball again. I was told, however, that it would still affect me the rest of the season and it did. It wasn’t until about week 13 when I felt 100% again.
It's also important to remember that the 2010 strike/holdout/whatever it was shortened the offseason program for all rookies/UDFA's. That certainly didn't help Spann's chances at the start, yet he still made the Colt's 53-man roster (and then suffered the hamstring injury at the last minute before the season began).
WR Johnny Knox was one of his mentors coming up. His favorite RB growing up was Marshall Faulk (thus why he wore #28 wherever he could). Also this:
DLF – Who do you feel your game resembles the most?
CS – I’m not sure who’s game mine resembles the most but I do a lot of film study of Ray Rice. Another short running back with a similar build and skill set. So I guess that is what I am aiming for however we still do things differently.
So anyway, he kept working out until he'd get his next shot. Now he seems to be getting the chance in New York, as he's with the Jets on a tryout basis during their rookie minicamp.
Chad Spann is 5'8", 202-205 lbs (unless he's addes some weight since those measurements were taken).
His senior year, 2010, he rushed for 1,388 yards and led the nation with 22 rushing TDs.
The thing that most impressed me a couple years ago, the reason he was on my radar, we because of his running style. I figured he'd end up on some teams roster and make his way up once injuries struck.
I have no doubt that he could definitely unseat Joe McKnight or Bilal Powell to make the Jets 53-man roster. And then, all it would take is an injury to Chris Ivory, imo, for him to finally make the fantasy impact I've been waiting for.
I think he actually landed in one of the more perfect situations (for fantasy stats). The Jets simply are willing to run the ball. So if he makes it into the lead role by way of a Chris Ivory injury sometime during the season, I'd DEFINITELY burn the #1 overall Waiver Claim on him if I had it.
Some other articles:
This is a good one:
These are two great interviews with him discussing his time with the Colts, working with Peyton Manning, etc:
Now for the videos (oddly, most of his highlight reels from college have been taken off Youtube):
Edited by Robrain, 11 May 2013 - 12:20 PM.