The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly signed free agent C/G Fernando Velasco to a one-year contract. Adam Caplan first reported the deal and Velasco's agent, Brian Ayrault, has since confirmed.
Velasco started all 16 games at center/guard for the Tennessee Titans in 2012 (funny how things work out like that), but was released a week and a half ago with their final cuts on August 30. He reportedly struggled during the preseason - being passed by Titans free agent signings Rob Turner and Andy Levitre and 1st round pick Chance Warmack for all of the starting spots on the interior of their offensive line.
However, Velasco's release still came as a surprise considering his solid play last year, position flexibility, and the fact that Tennessee's front office thought enough of Velasco to give him a 2nd round tender as a restricted free agent back in March (he entered the league undrafted in 2008).
New Steelers center Fernando Velasco was our 11th ranked center last year. Solid player thoguh he did struggle during preseason.— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 9, 2013
With Maurkice Pouncey out for the rest of the year, Velasco could conceivably start at center for the Steelers' Week 2 matchup vs. the Bengals, which would allow Kelvin Beachum to return to his gameday position of blocking TE/utility backup for the whole offensive line.
But if Velasco does start, it would beg the question of why the Steelers signed C/G Cody Wallace to replace John Malecki after final cuts when Velasco was also available at the time.
I watched new Steelers OL Fernando Velasco this preseason and am surprised he was available. Strong, some mobility. Quality pick-up.— James C Wexell (@jimwexell) September 9, 2013
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