Once the dust settled after the debacle against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1 of the NFL season, the Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves ties with the rest of the teams in the AFC North with a 0-1 record. While that may give them some solace in the standings, it does not help with the fact that they will be without three starters and one key reserve moving forward in 2013.Maurkice Pouncey (ACL/MCL) and linebacker Larry Foote (biceps), was the torn ACL suffered by back-up running back / kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling. An injury that will also end his season and the hamstring injury suffered by kicker Shaun Suisham, keep him out of action for a few weeks.
With so many injuries at hand, the Steelers were forced to make a handful of roster moves on Monday to round out the roster, as the team prepares for a critical early season match-up against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. To take the place of Stephens-Howling, the team reached out to a familiar face, Jonathan Dwyer.
Dwyer, who has spent his entire career with the Steelers, was released in the final cuts after the acquisition of running back Felix Jones. With rookie second round pick Le’Veon Bell still rounding into shape, and the overall ineffectiveness (and fumbles) of starter Isaac Redman, Dwyer may see some action against the Bengals. Ironically, that game will be at the site of possibly Dwyers’ best game as a Steeler.
While that signing was somewhat of a no-brainer for the front office, the team went outside of the organization for offensive line depth, signing former Titans center Fernando Velasco. The former undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Georgia stated all 16 games in 2012 at center for Tennessee and has the ability to play both center and guard.
To help ease the loss of Suisham, the Steelers signed free agent kicker Shayne Graham. The veteran is familiar with the AFC North and spent 2012 with the Houston Texans going 31-of-38 on field goal attempts. The preseason, he sent time with the Cleveland Browns and was released on the final day of preseason. To make room for these new faces, the Steelers Place Foote, Pouncey and Stephens-Howling on season ending injured reserve.
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