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Malecki is taking center stage with Steelers

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By Scott Brown
Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011
 

John Malecki stayed after practice Tuesday to snap for reserve quarterback and fellow Western Pennsylvania native Charlie Batch.

Malecki is not listed at center on the Steelers' depth chart. The scene, however, made perfect sense, given how wild a ride he has enjoyed and endured since leaving Pitt.

The former Franklin Regional High standout has spent time with the Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans.

If Malecki has learned anything less than two years into his professional career, it is how to adapt. That is why he has embraced working at center even though he didn't play the position in college and has been a guard in the NFL.

"Just being able to be in a (training) camp is a blessing," Malecki said, "and then to be able to go to a camp with a team I've rooted for my entire life is even better."

The Steelers signed Malecki on Thursday after guard Dorian Brooks left the team. The 6-foot-2, 298-pounder is third on the team's depth chart at left guard, but the Steelers are giving him a look at center.

Malecki practiced center while at Pitt but never played the position after moving to the offensive line following two seasons as a nose tackle.

Center, Malecki said, "is where I need to be playing because I'm not the tallest guy."

Malecki had been with the Buccaneers before being released. He was at home in Murrysville, pondering his next step, when Brooks' departure left an opening for an offensive lineman.

Signing with the Steelers meant a considerably shorter drive than Malecki is used to when reporting to a new team.

The proximity has allowed his parents, John and Angela, to watch him practice several times, including Friday night at Latrobe Memorial Stadium.

"It's been a rocky road, and hopefully I can get in somewhere and just keep playing," Malecki said. "It's been a great time for me, and I'm glad to be here and be with the Steelers."

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