Steelers OL Legursky's talent belies stature

| Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2011

Doug Legursky started 36 games at Marshall, where he registered 235 knockdowns and 23 touchdown-resulting blocks while allowing only four sacks. That placed him at the top of the list for both the Rimington Award and Outland Trophy.

Legursky was sure to be selected somewhere during the 2008 NFL Draft — until his Pro Day rolled around.

Legursky was listed at 6-foot-3 in college. When he was measured at his Pro Day, he came in two inches shorter.

Legursky went from a sure-fire draft choice to an undrafted rookie free-agent selection of the Steelers, with little chance of making the 53-man roster and an even harder time making an impression on his coach.

"A couple years ago, I admit that he wasn't much to look at," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Now, Legursky is Tomlin's starting right guard.

"Even out of high school and going into college and into the league, (my height) has been a part of my career," Legursky said. "It is going to continue my entire life, so I am not going to worry about it now."

With the offensive lines around the league getting bigger — especially in the interior — the Steelers are comfortable with employing the shortest starting guard in the NFL.

Legursky was moved to the top of the depth chart Monday and will start tomorrow in the Steelers' final preseason game against Carolina.

Barring injury or unforeseen misfortune, Legrusky will start the season opener at Baltimore.

"Anytime you get the opportunity to play in this league, you have to take advantage of it," Legursky said. "I am going to go out there and show what I can do and hopefully help this team get some wins."

Even though Tomlin has yet to make it official, players in the locker room are comfortable with Legursky, who won the four-way competition by beating out incumbent Ramon Foster, Tony Hills and Chris Scott.

"I trust (Legursky) more than anybody else on the field," veteran right tackle Willie Colon said. "I know he is going to be out there and do a good job."

Foster started 11 games last year including the playoffs and the Super Bowl, but is sure Legursky will be the starter when the season opens.

"He is definitely an NFL-caliber starter," Foster said. "It is one of those things that you have to go out and continue to work every day to get that back."

The Steelers have been believers in Legursky since he filled in at numerous positions a year ago and actually started four games for the injured Trai Essex at right guard early in the season.

But what really opened the Steelers' eyes was the performance he had in Super Bowl XLV, when he was forced to fill in for the injured Maurkice Pouncey at center and played well enough to neutralize mammoth Green Bay nose tackle B.J. Raji.

"Going into the offseason I know I was going to fight for a starting position," Legursky said. "It is kind of nice of having everybody thinking you are not going to make it. I am not going to go around and try to convince people. I am just going to play the way I play and let my play speak for itself."

Tomlin isn't concerned with Legursky's small frame.

"I don't get into the cookie-cutter mentality as regards to players," Tomlin said "He is consistently competitive. He has good technique and built in leverage."

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