Velasco Placed on IR, Van Dyke Released, Two Offensive Linemen Inked


Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Well, it looks like the Pittsburgh Steelers will be looking for a replacement for Maurkice Pouncey’s replacement for their final four games of the 2013 regular season.

According to the team’s official website, the Steelers placed Fernando Velasco on injured reserve due to the Achilles injury he sustained during Pittsburgh’s 22-20 loss against Baltimore on Thursday night. The injury, which happened on Pittsburgh’s final drive of the game, will cost Velasco the rest of this season after he had done such a steady job in place of the All-Pro Pouncey.

Velasco started 11 games in a row for Pittsburgh after Pouncey went down on opening day, and the Steelers will likely have to turn to either Kelvin Beachum or Cody Wallace to finish the 2013 campaign in his place at center.

In addition to Velasco’s placement on injured reserve, Pittsburgh’s brass also released backup cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke. The third-year player spent the last two seasons with the Steelers after the Oakland Raiders cut the former third round pick right before the 2012 regular season began. Hurt with a hamstring injury for much of this season, Van Dyke was essentially a non-factor for the Steelers this fall.

With Velasco on injured reserve and Van Dyke released, the Steelers had two open roster spots. Thankfully they did their best to add some insurance in the trenches when they inked two offensive linemen to fill the aforementioned spots.

Because Kelvin Beachum and Mike Adams exited Pittsburgh’s last game early in addition to Velasco, the Steelers inked veteran offensive tackle Rashard Butler. The 30 year-old tackle has played in 50 games during his professional career and started four for the Houston Texans back in 2010. Obviously uncomfortable with Joe Long on their practice squad, I guess the team felt it was necessary to have a veteran stop-gap behind Guy Whimper.

In addition to Butler, Pittsburgh’s front office also signed center Eric Olsen for insurance purposes. The 25 year-old center spent time (17 games and four starts) with three NFL franchises (Denver Broncos, Washington Redskins, and New Orleans Saints) before he was released by New Orleans after the team’s first game of the 2013 regular season.

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