Steelers notebook: Legursky returns to provide offensive line depth
Offensive lineman Doug Legursky, who played with the Steelers from 2009-12 prior to stints in Buffalo and San Diego, was signed to provide depth in the wake of the injury to All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey, who is out indefinitely with a broken fibula.
The Steelers signed Legursky on Tuesday and placed wide receiver David Nelson on the reserve/injured list.
“There are a lot of new faces in the building, but there’s a level of familiarity,” said Legursky, who started Super Bowl XLV at center in place of an injured Pouncey. “As soon as (Pouncey’s injury) happened, my phone started blowing up.
“I’m excited to get back in a couple of weeks before the season so I can get in football shape. I played in this town a few years. I’ve been a starter and a backup, so I’m ready to step in and do what the team wants me to do.”
Time to play
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said he expects to play into the third quarter at Buffalo on Saturday. When asked if it’s necessary for that kind of work in the preseason, Roethlisberger said, “I think we’ve shown enough. The good thing about the offense is we have everybody back.
“It’s always been our mentality that no one stops us but us. I’m sure every team in the league says that, but we believe it. We feel comfortable where we’re at.”
Linebackers Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons (toe) missed Tuesday’s practice along with wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, tight end Cameron Clear (knee) and Stephon Tuitt, who is recovering from a left ankle injury. Tomlin did not specify why Shazier and Heyward-Bey sat out practice.
Tuitt, wearing a boot on his left foot, said there’s a chance he’ll be back for the regular-season opener at New England on Sept. 10.
“I’m already walking on my leg, so I’ll be back in no time,” Tuitt said. “I take it as a come-back-down-to-earth moment. I’ll use this moment to get my body right so I can get out of this boot.”
Step right up
Perhaps no one will benefit more in terms of extra practice reps and more preseason-game exposure from Tuitt’s injury than rookie defensive end L.T. Walton. A sixth-round pick in May, Walton quietly has had a strong training camp.
“It’s not the best thing when somebody goes down, but you’ve got to be prepared to step up when the time is needed.,” Walton said. “Since I’ve gotten here, I feel like I have taken a lot of steps forward. So I think I’m prepared to take advantage of this opportunity.”
The Steelers worked Dri Archer in the slot several times during their 24-19 win over Green Bay on Sunday, but DeAngelo Williams likely will have a more expansive role in the passing game with Le’Veon Bell out for the first two games of the regular season.
“We do some empty stuff where we spread those guys around, so it’s nothing special for (Williams),” Roethlisberger said. “He’s versatile and we can use him out there.
“We’re not going to be afraid to do the things we did with Le’Veon. He may not be the first read on the pass play like Le’Veon, but we’re going to put him out there.”
Williams, though, didn’t earn his pay as a receiving threat. He had only 178 catches in nine seasons in Carolina, while Bell has 128 in two seasons — including 83 in 2014.
Kicker Shaun Suisham is coming to grips that he won’t play this season because of his knee injury.
“I’m fit and I’m ready for the season, but my knee isn’t coming along for the ride,” Suisham said. “It’s extremely disappointing because a lot of work went into preparing for the year. … I’m disappointed I won’t be a part of it, partly because this is new for me. I hate seeing another player kick for the Steelers, but I’ll be rooting Garrett (Hartley) on.”
Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.