Behind the Steel Curtain editor Neal Coolong couldn’t have put it better: “The safety blanket has been removed.”
That coupled with the headline “Steelers free agent signs with another team” coming less than 24 hours before the Steelers arrive at St. Vincent’s in Latrobe for training camp could cover a number of players, from Brett Keisel to James Harrison to wild cards such as Plaxico Burress and and even LaRod Stephens-Howling.
- No, this one involves someone with far less history with the team (well, he has more that LaRod Stephens-Howling, but how doesn’t?)
No, this latest defection involves Fernando Velasco signing with the Carolina Panthers, a player who in less than a full season of starts, managed to develop something of a cult following in Steelers Nation.
Last year when David DeCastro was taking out Maurkice Pouncey‘s ACL 8 plays into the season opener vs. Tennessee, Fernando Velasco was sitting in a church in Nashville. A week later he was starting for the Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium.
Although the Steelers lost that night, and the next two nights, the play of the offensive line steadily improved, and the Steelers eventually started winning.
- Unfortunately for Velasco, his ride on that train ended vs. the Ravens on Thanksgiving, when he tore his Acillies late in the season.
Cody Wallace did a respectable job in snapping the ball to Ben Roethlisberger, and the Steelers opted to resign Wallace instead of the recovering Velasco. Any thoughts that the Steelers might still opt for the Velasco-Wallace combo at center ended when the Steelers renewed Pouncey’s contract in early June.