Report: Saints' Noah Spence Suffers Torn ACL Injury Training Away from Team

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2020

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 26: Defensive End Noah Spence #57 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the sidelines during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium on August 26, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers defeated the Browns 30 to 13. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

New Orleans Saints defensive end Noah Spence reportedly suffered a torn ACL while working out on his own amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ESPN's Mike Triplett reported the Saints have placed Spence on the reserve/non-football injury list. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network provided further details, including the team's signing of linebacker Anthony Chickillo to take the roster spot:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The #Saints signed LB Anthony Chickillo today and placed pass-rusher Noah Spence on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list because he tore his ACL preparing for training camp. This injury would have occurred at OTAs, but obviously no OTAs this year.

The 26-year-old Philadelphia native was a 5-star prospect in the 2012 college football recruiting class before signing with Ohio State.

He's struggled to reach those sky-high expectations both in college, which included a stop at Eastern Kentucky, and at the NFL level because of injuries and off-field problems.

Spence enjoyed a solid rookie season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, tallying 22 total tackles, 5.5 sacks and three forced fumbles across 16 appearances in 2016. However, he's registered just two sacks and appeared in only 25 games since the start of the 2017 season. He made seven appearances for the Washington Redskins last season before getting waived in November.

The 2016 second-round pick joined the Saints in December, and he re-signed in March on a one-year, $910,000 contract.

"Sometimes when you are younger and going through things in the NFL off the field (and) stuff like that, you lose your focus," Spence told reporters after signing the new deal. "I just have to get back to being locked in all the way on my goals, and that's going to help me to win."

New Orleans isn't required to pay Spence's salary since his injury didn't occur during an official team activity, but Triplett noted the team could provide him with an injury settlement or place him on injured reserve after final rosters are set given the unique COVID-19 circumstances.

The typical one-year timetable for an ACL tear would put the defensive end on track to return in time for training camp in 2021.