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|09-01-2009, 10:45 AM||#1|
Join Date: May 2008
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Legursky gets leg up on Oline job
PITTSBURGH — Darnell Stapleton’s misery may be Doug Legursky’s opportunity.
On Monday, the Steelers placed Stapleton, a versatile offensive lineman, on the season-ending injured reserve list. The knee injury that’s bothered him as far back as minicamp in May will keep from playing this year.
Stapleton, a third-year pro who originally came to Pittsburgh as an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers, started 15 games last year, three playoff games included. He became a starter after right guard Kendall Simmons suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury. Stapleton was also the Steelers’ back-up center.
But now, it looks as though Legursky, pictured, is the top back-up in the interior of the offensive line. He started the first preseason game this summer at center and the second at guard.
“I have been pleased with what Doug Legursky has done,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “He has taken advantage of an opportunity. He has shown position flexibility and played some center and guard.”
Legursky is a second-year pro who spent most of the 2008 season on the Steelers’ practice squad. He was signed last year as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall.
Meanwhile, Stapleton took the disappointing news of his IR designation the best he could.
“It’s tough to swallow, to be away from football for a year,” he said.
Advertisement “But there’s a bigger picture. I’ll try to get back out there next year. I’ll be around the whole time, trying to get healthy.”
Stapleton, who needed arthroscopic surgery several weeks ago, said he was caught off guard by the decision. He was hoping to resume practice this week. Instead, he was informed by personnel director Kevin Colbert just before noon Monday.
“I guess they felt (my knee) wasn’t where it needed to be to give it a shot (of playing again this year,” Stapleton said.
“It wasn’t moving in the direction we wanted it too, quite frankly,” Tomlin said. “We didn’t think he was going to be able to do it. Maybe he has another (surgical) procedure in his future. We have slowed that down and put his health first and foremost, and we are no longer under the clock in terms of whether he is going to be a part of this season or not.
“That’s unfortunate, but that’s football.”
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