PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 24: Charlie Batch #16 of the Pittsburgh Steelers lines up under center behind backup center Trai Essex #79 against the St. Louis Rams during the Christmas Eve game on December 24, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
He has five.
And the versatility he's shown in the seven years with the team has earned him an eighth.
Essex signed a one-year deal with the offensive line-thin Steelers today, after playing in all 16 games in 2011. He was picked up as a free agent during training camp, and worked his way to three starts.
While one year contracts for veterans like Essex do not assure them a spot on the roster, the fact he was signed now instead of during training camp has to suggest he's in their plans one way or another.
Perhaps it's for continuity. I'm not sure if any other Steelers linemen has ever started at least one game at all five offensive line positions, but Essex can't be far from that. He played at all five in 2011.
Essex won't be confused for the modern day Anthony Munoz, but the veteran has plenty of experience, and will be counted on to help transition what could be a younger offensive line in 2012.