Fernando Velasco is probably happy to have a job.
His career path is oddly similar to Steelers left guard Ramon Foster - both were undrafted out of the SEC, Foster out of Tennessee in 2009 and Velasco out of Georgia in 2008. Velasco, though, spent two years on the Titans' practice squad, before eventually starting in all 16 of the team's games in 2012 - three starts at left guard after making 12 at center.
Injuries crushed the Titans' line last year, but Velasco wasn't entirely the reason for that. He likely is out of position as a guard, which will matter very little to the center-less Steelers. Filling in for Pouncey isn't going to be an easy thing to do, but at this point, Velasco has the opportunity to step in and become this team's MVP.
According to his bio from the Titans' web site: "In 2010, Velasco started a foundation called Right C.H.O.I.C.E.S. which is an acronym for Christ Humility Opportunity Integrity Character Education and Success. The foundation sponsors a free camp for kids age 8-14 in his hometown every summer. More than 200 kids attend the camp each year."
Seems like another character kind of guy, and the workmanlike manner in which he came to be the team's starting center is equally encouraging. The main issue here is simply how out of tune the Steelers offensive line looked. While we've reset the meter counting the amount of games in which the same Steelers offensive line starts from one game to the next, the addition of Velasco - and his ability to get up to speed with the Edsel-like offensive line in Pittsburgh - may be the reason the Steelers' 2013 season falls apart or is saved from impending doom.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Film Room: Week 1 vs. Titans
- Redman and Bell still co-starters despite acquisition of Dwyer
- Beachum to start at center against Bengals
- Vince Williams vs. Kion Wilson for Steelers starting ILB
- Heath Miller may return in Week 2
- Meet Fernando Velasco, the Steelers newest roster addition
- Steelers focus on conditioning is not preventing injuries
- Mike Wallace acts like diva receivers of the past
- Rundown of the Steelers roster moves from Monday
- Homer's take on the State of Steeler Nation
- Steelers PFF grades: Week 1 vs. Tennessee Titans
- Steelers sign kicker Shayne Graham
- Steelers sign C/G Fernando Velasco in wake of Maurkice Pouncey injury
- Steelers 2013: Are we witnessing the fall of the House of Colbert?