Late last week we tackled the offensive tackle position, followed by an assesment of the Pittsburgh Steeler's situation at offensive guard. Let's now round out the offensive line by taking a look at the team's pivot men along the offensive line - the centers.
Age and 2009 Stats: 31 years old; 16 games (16 starts), 3 penalties, 7 sacks allowed.
Contract Status: Signed through 2012
2009 Analysis: Hartwig, like many of his teammates along the offensive line, had an up and down year in '09. Many thought Hartwig played himself out of an extension during the '08 Super Bowl, but apparently the organization was pleased enough with his first year in Pittsburgh to re-sign him last summer. Though Hartwig was probably the most consistent lineman in '08, I don't think the same can be said of him in '09.
2010 Outlook: Hartwig has started all 32 regular season games since signing with the Steelers two years ago. He'll almost surely be the team's starting center come next season pending unforeseen injury. He'll turn 32 years old during the season and probably has another couple of years playing at a similar level.
Age and 2009 Stats: 23 years old; 9 games (0 starts), 0 penalties, 0 sacks allowed
Contract Status: Signed through 2010
2009 Analysis: After spending all of the 2008 season on the practice squad, Legursky made the active roster and dressed in a number of games last season for Pittsburgh. The former Marshall standout even made a few appearances as a fullback in a 'jumbo' package along the goal goal line. Fortunately or unfortunately - depending on your point of view - Legursky has still not had an opportunity to make a start at center due to Hartwig's durability the past two seasons. Still, by all accounts it looks as if Legursky has done what he's needed to do to remain the team's number two at the center position.
2010 Outlook: With Hartwig signed through 2012, Legursky probably won't get a chance to prove his abilities to be the team's starting center until at least the 2011 season. Assuming the Steelers don't target a center in this April's draft, Legursky will though have a role to play on this team next season, including on special teams. What's fairly exciting about Legursky is that he's still only 23 years old (he'll turn 24 before the start of training camp). In another year's time, with the right amount of development under new offensive line coach Sean Kugler, Legursky could be ready to step in to a starting role in 2011.