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Panthers Jerricho Cotchery will not play, Fernando Velasco will start at right guard

One familiar face will play vs. the Steelers while another will only get to exchange pre- and post-game conversations with his former teammates.

Grant Halverson

When the Panthers announced their inactives 90 minutes before kickoff, the Steelers perhaps had a sigh of relief or quite possibly a sigh of disappointment.

According to Pittsburgh Tribune-Review beat writer Alan Robinson, former Steeler Jerricho Cotchery won't suit up for the Panthers, but former Steelers center Fernando Velasco will.

After they faced Cotchery for the past three seasons, the Steelers defense most likely looked forward to potentially playing against him Sunday night. For competitive purposes, the Steelers' corners and safeties may be disappointed. But, as Steeler players and coaches well know, Cotchery can still contribute at a solid level at the age of 32. The former Steeler came up clutch many times for the Steelers in his three seasons as a member of the Black and Gold.

But, the Steelers' defense will face the 2013 savior of their offensive line, Fernando Velasco. The former center came aboard in Week 2 and stabilized the position for the Steelers until he suffered a season-ending achilles injury.

Either way, the Steelers probably aren't disappointed Velasco is suiting up rather than Cotchery.