PITTSBURGH (AP) – Doug Legursky’s return to the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t last long.
The team cut the veteran offensive lineman on Saturday, less than two weeks after they signed him as a potential replacement for injured All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey. Legursky started 17 games for the Steelers during his first stint in Pittsburgh from 2009-12, including the 2011 Super Bowl against Green Bay when Pouncey was hurt.
Pittsburgh also released running back Josh Harris, who was vying for a backup spot behind Le’Veon Bell and DeAngelo Williams. Bell is suspended for the first two games of the season stemming from his arrest last summer on DUI and drug charges, meaning the Steelers will rely heavily on Williams and second-year back Dri Archer to help fill the void. Coach Mike Tomlin did not rule out scanning the waiver wire for additional depth heading into Thursday’s opener at New England.
“Replacing a guy as dynamic as (Bell) is not usually a one-man job,” Tomlin said. “We have guys with skills capable enough of filling that void. I’m excited about watching them do it, with Dri being one of them.”
The Steelers did keep a pair of fullbacks, with veteran Will Johnson and newcomer Roosevelt Nix both surviving as Pittsburgh trimmed the roster to 55. The Steelers had two additional spots to fill with Bell and wide receiver Martavis Bryant unavailable. Tomlin said having the flexibility made the decision making easier at the deadline.
“You often spend a lot of time debating on the guys from 50 through 55,” Tomlin said. “Having those two additional spots minimized that discussion.”
Nix helped his cause by blocking a punt in the preseason finale against Carolina. A former defensive tackle, the 5-foot-11, 245-pound Nix began training camp as a roster filler before winning the staff over with his relentless play, a valuable character trait for a team hoping to give special teams ace Robert Golden a running mate.
“I always played with that chip on my shoulder,” Nix said. “I really didn’t appreciate it when somebody tells me I can’t do it.”
Nix was one of 13 undrafted free agents to make the Steelers. Pittsburgh also kept wide receiver Tyler Murphy, a converted quarterback. Nearly all of the Steelers’ 2015 draft picks also survived cut day, including outside linebacker Anthony Chickillo, who becomes the third generation of his family to make an NFL roster.
Pittsburgh cut seventh-round pick Gerod Holliman, who led the FBS in interceptions last fall at Louisville. The Steelers signed free agent Ross Cockrell for depth. Cockrell was a fourth-round selection by Buffalo last season.
“He’s a smart, savvy guy,” Tomlin said. “He knows how to cover guys as well. He has long arms and we are excited about getting to know him and include him into our equation.”
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