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John Malecki's road from practice squad to roster to roster cut can't be easy

It's common for fringe players, such as Pittsburgh's own John Malecki, to bounce around the league. But when a player finally makes the final cut out of training camp, he might take a moment to celebrate just a little. Unfortunately for Malecki, one day after making the Steelers regular season roster, he was released in favor of fellow reserve lineman, Cody Wallace .

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Every player on the fringes of the NFL has to put up with the ups and downs of being released, being signed and then being released again. However, after a few stops, it's probably desirable to find at least some stability in your career. I have to wonder if former Steelers offensive lineman John Malecki was feeling like he may have been afforded a chance to play an entire NFL season for one team when he survived the final 22 cuts on Saturday.

Malecki, a Pittsburgh native and Pitt football alumnus, was an undrafted free agent in 2010. And starting with Tennessee, he was signed and released upwards of a half dozen times during his first three years out of college. In October of last season, he finally got promoted from the very fringes of the league (the Steelers practice squad) to his hometown team's active roster. Unfortunately, Malecki was waived a week later, before being promoted back to the 53 man roster for good at the end of November.

It must be difficult for a player of Malecki's status, an unproven reserve offensive lineman, to have to sit through the long days of training camp, wondering if and when he'll get that dreadful knock on the door.

Heck, I'm afraid to log on to to check the score of the Pirates game. I can't imagine how stressful is to try and make a living in a profession, where, depending on your boss's opinion of your talents, you may have to either buy a house or rent a hotel room.

Getting promoted to the main squad in October is one thing, but to survive the stress of a month-long training camp--including four preseason games--and find out that you made the final cut? That has to come with at least a bit of cache, right? The coaches spent an entire spring and summer evaluating your talents and have determined you're good enough to go to war with on Sunday afternoons.

Maybe a player in Malecki's position never truly takes a deep breath, but he had to be feeling pretty good about earning a decent paycheck this season as a backup in his home city.

Unfortunately for Malecki, Cody Wallace, a player with a similar sign/release history, was found more desirable by Pittsburgh after playing in eight games a year ago for the Buccaneers.

I hope for Malecki's sake, he just rented property and didn't buy.

This kind of thing isn't uncommon for players on the fringes of the league, but to get cut for a guy with a similar resume? That has to sting just a little.

As Neal Coolong points out in this piece, Wallace probably offers a bit more position flexibility for a unit that can certainly use it. But there was that whole month of August and those preseason games where Malecki's talents were found to be suitable in the coaches eyes.

It's tough being a player on the fringes of the NFL.

Maybe one of these days, John Malecki can put down roots somewhere.

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