Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has declared starting nose tackle Steve McLendon out for the team's Week 7 game vs. the Houston Texans. He suffered a shoulder injury toward the end of the first half against Cleveland in Week 6.
On one hand, it's unfortunate to see the Steelers lose one of their more solid defenders this season while heading into a game against a strong rushing team in the Texans.
On the other, it brings rookie Dan McCullers one step closer to beginning his NFL career.
McCullers, BTSC's 2014 Redman Award winner, saw time at nose tackle and defensive end during this preseason, performing well enough to earn a spot on the team's 53-man roster. He hasn't dressed for a game yet this season, but it would seem likely the team will move defensive end Cam Thomas into the starting nose tackle position in Week 7 and will likely need to activate McCullers for depth or perhaps something more.
The Steelers are off Tuesday and will begin practice for the Texans Wednesday. McCullers and the Steelers will get an extra day to prepare, considering they play on Monday night. Maybe that's enough time to get McCullers schooled up to handle a starting role.
Steve McLendon injury: Steelers' nose tackle out for Week 7 vs. Texans
The path is cleared for rookie Dan McCullers to bowl his way onto the field. And from there, who knows? The starting lineup? The White House?