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Steelers already scrambling due to trio of season-ending injuries

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers, who looked dreadful on offense in their 16-9 loss at home to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, are scrambling to repair a roster that lost two starters and a third-down back to season-ending injuries.

The Steelers re-signed Jonathan Dwyer, their leading rusher last season who was waived Aug. 31, after LaRod Stephens-Howling tore an ACL against the Titans.

The other two positions won't be as easily filled. Maurkice Pouncey is done after teammate right guard David DeCastro dove into his legs in an attempt to cut-block the Titans' nose tackle in the new zone run-blocking scheme installed this year. Pouncey will have surgery to repair his ACL and MCL.

Coincidentally, the Steelers signed Tennessee's former starting center to replace him on the roster. Fernando Velasco, who started 16 games for the Titans in '12 (13 at center, three at guard), signed a one-year contract Monday. He was released after training camp because the Titans signed center Rob Turner as a free agent and drafted another in the fourth round.

The Steelers will go either with newly-signed Cody Wallace or use versatile lineman Kelvin Beachum at center in Week 2.

Larry Foote, who calls all of the Steelers' plays as the buck inside linebacker, is done after his biceps was torn. They put Kion Wilson at the position on Sunday after Foote left. Wilson was out of football last season and has played for two other teams since 2010. They also could re-sign Stevenson Sylvester, who was Foote's backup last season.

Lawrence Timmons might be asked to take over the role of calling the plays.

"It's tough, man, you know what that guy's going to do," safety and defensive captain Ryan Clark said of Foote. "Losing him is going to be big just because, who's behind him? I just learned the names like this week."

Losing Pouncey is another sign that things just won't go right on offense this season. The line already was shaky with little depth and unproven tackles. Now, it has unproven tackles and an unproven center. Ben Roethlisberger was sacked five times by the Titans.

"We've got a lot of work to do," head coach Mike Tomlin said. "Nobody cares about our problems. They're glad we've got them."

-- LB Cortez Allen left the opener with an ankle injury. The Steelers have not provided an update.

-- K Shaun Suisham has a hamstring injury that limited his ability to kick off on Sunday, but he did kick an extra point and an onside kick after his opening squib kickoff resulted in a Titans safety. His status for the next game is unknown.

The Steelers signed veteran Shayne Graham in case Suisham is not ready in time to kick in Week 2.
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