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Steelers place Willie Colon on injured reserve

The former right tackle, turned starting left guard and running game enforcer, exits a season prematurely for the third consecutive time in his young career.


The Pittsburgh Steelers reinstated running back Rashard Mendenhall on Monday, and were granted a 24 hour roster exemption that would expire at 4 p.m. ET today. By 3:30 p.m. the Steelers had made their decision on how they would make room for him.

Willie Colon has missed the past several weeks while dealing with an injury. He attempted to start against the San Diego Chargers in week 14, but was unable to perform and eventually found himself sidelined. Colon has been active rehabbing the knee, but it gave him little cooperation.

What also contributed to the end of Colon's season, are the satisfactory contributions of two rookie offensive linemen forced into starting action. David DeCastro played in his first NFL regular season contest against the Dallas Cowboys in week 15, accompanied by fellow rookie Kelvin Beachum, who made his third consecutive start in place of the injured Mike Adams.

Tomlin said of Adams that he would be observed over the course of the week, but shed little light on the odds of his participation. Tomlin did speak highly of the two rookies, accrediting them with "very few mental errors". As Ramon Foster also had a solid game, filling in for Colon at left guard, as DeCastro returned to right guard; the Steelers must feel comfortable with their depth and the chances of Adams return being sooner than later.

After starting every single game from week 16 of 2006 through the end of the 2009 season, Colon has only played in 12 of 48 possible games after missing all of 2010, and all but the opening loss to the Baltimore Ravens in 2011. Willie Colon will be 30 years old next season.

Colon is currently under contract for the next three seasons, with cap hits over 7.5 million dollars in each.