As the story goes, when Fernando Velasco first heard from the Pittsburgh Steelers regarding his services he was in church.
Seems only fitting that Velasco was in church considering the savior he has been for this football team in 2013.
The fifth-year man from the University of Georgia started all 16 games last season as a member of the Tennessee Titans.
Because of salary cap issues and a younger and equally talented center who was less expensive, Velasco was given his walking papers and out on to the free agent market he went.
Knowing injuries are part of the game, I’m guessing Velasco knew he would eventually get a call but on opening day? When Steelers’ All-Pro Center Maurkice Pouncey went down with an ACL injury in the opener against Tennessee, Velasco’s phone rang.
Ever since then, he has done nothing but answer the bell for the Steelers and their offensive line.
The good news in finding Velasco was that he was a guy that was graded out to be the 11th best center in pro football last year by Pro Football Focus. This meant the Steelers were getting a guy they knew had some talent to go with some experience.
The question that keeps popping up with Velasco and it will even more as the season winds down is will the Steelers make an attempt to keep him around? There has been some talk about leaving him at center and possibly moving Pouncey to the left guard spot but that’s nothing more than conjecture.
Do the Steelers attempt to keep him on as a top reserve? He would certainly be the number one guy off the bench at center and potentially at guard as well. The problem is money and can the Steelers, with their salary cap situation even entertain the idea of keeping him around?
We’ll leave that for days in the future because there is much to be accomplished by the Steelers in 2013. One thing for certain is that Fernando Velasco has been a major addition to this team and should this current winning streak continue his acquisition will only grow in significance.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.