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Steelers already patching offensive line

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Injuries that played havoc with the Pittsburgh Steelers' offense in 2012 aren't waiting until the season this year. The rebuilt offensive line took its first blow over the weekend when starting right tackle Mike Adams was stabbed in the stomach.

Adams will recover and might be back on the field by training camp, but until then Kelvin Beachum is back where his rookie season ended in 2012, as the team's starting right tackle.

They hope it's not the beginning of a repeat of last season.

Beachum, their seventh-round pick in 2012, wound up starting the final five games at right tackle after Marcus Gilbert and Adams, who preceded him, both were knocked out by ankle injuries.

The injuries started in preseason when first-round pick David DeCastro, set to open at right guard, was knocked out by a knee injury. He returned to start the final four games at right guard and will start there in 2012 -- barring more injuries.

Starting left guard Willie Colon was lost after 11 starts because of a knee injury.

The only one to play every snap, left tackle Max Starks, was not re-signed as a free agent and is now with the San Diego Chargers. Colon was cut and is with the Jets.

The projected starting lineup includes two first-rounders and two second-rounders: Gilbert (second round) at left tackle, Ramon Foster (undrafted) at left guard, center Maurkice Pouncey (first), DeCastro (first) at right guard and Adams (second) at right tackle, when he returns. Beachum has practiced at center this spring so that he could be the No. 1 backup across the board at tackle, guard and center.

"It's one of those things I'm working on. I'm being accountable and taking responsibility for what the Steelers have given me so far," Beachum said.

That line also is learning some new schemes, some outside zone blocking under new line coach Jack Bicknell Jr.

"It's powerful. I like it," Gilbert said. "I ran it at Florida a bit. It's going to take some time for the offensive line, but so far so good."

It was until Adams took a knife to the stomach when some thugs attacked him while trying to steal his truck over the weekend.

"It's difficult with him not here," Beachum said. "He's going to make a full recovery. God has blessed him. I'm happy to see him recover and happy to see him get better. We're just looking for him to improve."

Coach Mike Tomlin said about Adams, "He's very blessed to be in the position that he's in, in terms of we expect a full recovery from him."

--The Steelers have one unsigned rookie draft pick left, quarterback Landry Jones, who was taken in the fourth round. They signed their top two picks on Monday, with first-rounder Jarvis Jones getting $8.5 million for four years, including a $4.7 million signing bonus. There is a fifth-year club option on the contract.
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