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Dolphins vs. Steelers: It's a big week for the Other Wallace, Cody

The veteran offensive linemen is expected to start at center for the Steelers in their Week 14 game against the Miami Dolphins. He'll be the third starting center this year, and the fourth one to snap the ball to Ben Roethlisberger.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

It was said Steelers center Fernando Velasco signed with the Steelers after Pittsburgh's Week 1 loss to Tennessee, a game that saw Maurkice Pouncey go down early with a season-ending injury, and immediately begin learning the offense in preparation for the team's Week 2 game at Cincinnati.

So far as media reports can indicate, the idea of starting reserve lineman Cody Wallace was never really a serious option.

Kelvin Beachum took over for the remainder of the loss to the Titans, and it was clear he was not prepared to play the position. Even considering that, it didn't seem like Wallace, who wasn't active for the game, would have been an option.

There really aren't any other options now. The Steelers signed Eric Olsen as a result of Velasco's season-ending injury suffered in Week 13 against Baltimore. Olsen played guard and tackle for the Saints last season, but Wallace is clearly the option of choice.


Any veteran free agent offensive lineman signing with the Steelers has to have something of a preference to sign with Pittsburgh. The guys who are never supposed to play seem to play a lot there.

Nine starting offensive linemen and tight ends have been placed on injured reserve by the Steelers over the last two seasons - and this one isn't even done yet. Guy Whimper, Doug Legursky, Kelvin Beachum, Max Starks, John Maelcki...just a handful of several players who got spot-starts for the Steelers since 2012. None of them were the projected starters at their respective positions at the end of the previous season.

If Wallace starts Sunday against Miami, as expected, he'll join a growing list of Next Man Ups. It's a wonder if he ever expected to start a game. It's a good bet the standard quote will be issued - you've always got to be prepared to step up when the team needs you.

In the Steelers' case, that cliche is as true as anything. Wallace likely realizes that, so the hope is, a day before players are expected back at the facility, Wallace is following Velasco's lead and is studying and working, in preparation for his first start with the team.

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