The battle to replace Doug Legursky is underway

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

John Malecki and Mike Golic join Kelvin Beachum as players the team is giving reps at center to back up the injury-laden Maurkice Pouncey.

Long-standing back-up interior offensive lineman Doug Legursky was allowed to leave via free agency this offseason, signing a deal with the Buffalo Bills.

Legursky was, at one point, an undrafted free agent himself, so it seems fitting the Steelers in-game back-up to oft-injured Maurkice Pouncey could be found from the undrafted free agency ranks.

John Malecki was undrafted out of Pitt in 2010, and wound up on the Steelers' practice squad the following seasons after similar stints with the Titans, Cardinals and Browns. Golic played center with Notre Dame this past season, and signed with the Steelers in April.

Beachum was a step away from UDFA status, having been a late seventh round pick by the Steelers in 2012.

All three have taken reps at center at some point this offseason - Golic and Malecki as recently as this training camp.

Malecki, the oldest of the three, also has guard experience, and perhaps, with some seasoning, could be expected to be more effective than Legursky was. Golic is the long shot, but he's working in line with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's mantra of creating position flexibility. He's seen time at tackle and center now in his short tenure in Pittsburgh.

Beachum has been linked with both center and guard after filling in for injured right tackle Mike Adams last season. He has the most game experience of the three.

Depth on the offensive line has been critical to this franchise in recent years, and a team's ability to find and coach up undrafted talent can oftentimes be the key to making the playoffs or falling a game short. Legursky ended up costing a bit too much, but with the three low-price but low-experienced combatants beginning to square off, time will tell if the money savings was worth it.

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