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fordfixer
09-24-2010, 12:08 AM
Legursky's unflagging dedication pays off
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, September 24, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 01048.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_701048.html)

Doug Legursky waited by the phone two years ago, hoping for a call that he wasn't sure would come.

Now it is all but certain that the player known as "Bronco" or simply "Bronc" to his teammates will make his first NFL start Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Right guard Trai Essex, who did not practice again yesterday, is nursing a sprained ankle and his left foot is still in a protective boot. Legursky, meanwhile, is next in line when it comes to the Steelers' battered offensive line.

Assuming Essex doesn't play against the Buccaneers, Legursky will complete another leg in what has been a fairly remarkable journey.

Legursky was released before training camp after signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in April 2008. Now, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians joked yesterday, the Steelers can't get rid of him.

"He's just one of those guys that you try to run off all the time and you can't," Arians said. "He comes back every time and plays better. Every time we've put him in any position, whether it's fullback, guard, center, he's succeeded."

His athleticism and strength the West Virginia native is a former state champion in weightlifting coupled with the career he had at Marshall make it a surprise that Legursky didn't get an invite to the 2008 NFL scouting combine and that he had to crash the gates just to make it to the NFL.

But a month into the 2008 season Legursky was still looking for work, and he can only wonder what might have been had former Steelers guard Kendall Simmons not ruptured his Achilles tendon.

The Steelers signed Legursky to their practice squad following the season-ending injury to Simmons, and the 6-foot-1, 323-pounder has been on the rise ever since.

Included in those who Legursky has beaten out on his way to the role of primary backup at the three interior line positions is Kraig Urbik, the Steelers' second pick (third round) in the 2009 draft.

"I followed the road map of (defensive tackle) Chris Hoke, undrafted guy, and this is his 10th year in the league," said Legursky, who is in his second season on the 53-man roster. "He's made a career out of being a hard-nosed guy."

Legursky is not nearly as outgoing as Hoke, but he is not quiet anymore either, reflecting a new comfort level in the Steelers' roster.

Earlier this week, in fact, the guy who once may have garnered votes for the least talkative Steeler played Ping-Pong before practice with perhaps the chattiest one, linebacker Larry Foote.

"All my buddies said the same about me when I came into college; they said I didn't talk to anybody," Legursky said. "I think that's just some respect for the older guys, knowing your place and just staying focused and working hard."

His hard work could pay off again for Legursky on Sunday when he takes yet another step on his unlikely career path.

"He's a great example of how hard work and dedication can give you a great opportunity," quarterback and fellow Marshall alum Byron Leftwich said. "I'm happy for him to see him get an opportunity to play, because I believe he'll do very well."

Mister Pittsburgh
09-24-2010, 07:28 AM
I have been pulling for Legursky from day one. I hope he has a great showing and wish him much luck! Who knows, maybe he will have a great game opening up more opportunities.

Stewie
09-24-2010, 07:52 AM
Do you think that Legursky knows that if he plays really well, Essex never starts at RG again? Kemo, do you see Foster in your rearview mirror? I hope so. You've got to elevate your game.

papillon
09-24-2010, 08:57 AM
It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen if some of the vets didn't see the field again. The offensive line has their center for the next 10-12 years in place, Kemo and Essex don't seem to be able to put it all together, Adams is stop gap and Starks' tenure may be up soon as well (by soon I mean 2-3 years).

It would be a welcomed sight if some of the younger offensive lineman showed enough to sit the vets and begin to put together the line that will there while Ben puts the finishing touches on his HOF career.

Pappy

Stewie
09-24-2010, 10:29 AM
It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen if some of the vets didn't see the field again. The offensive line has their center for the next 10-12 years in place, Kemo and Essex don't seem to be able to put it all together, Adams is stop gap and Starks' tenure may be up soon as well (by soon I mean 2-3 years).

It would be a welcomed sight if some of the younger offensive lineman showed enough to sit the vets and begin to put together the line that will there while Ben puts the finishing touches on his HOF career.

Pappy

I agree. I've been advocating for Legursky since training camp. I don't know if he'll dominate, but it's hard to accept that he'll play worse than Essex. Kemo has the physical tools, if a little stiff, but he seems to lose concentration very easily. When he focuses, he's a beast; but focus is fickle with him.

Slapstick
09-24-2010, 10:38 AM
I agree. I've been advocating for Legursky since training camp. I don't know if he'll dominate, but it's hard to accept that he'll play worse than Essex. Kemo has the physical tools, if a little stiff, but he seems to lose concentration very easily. When he focuses, he's a beast; but focus is fickle with him.

I imagine it's hard to concentrate when the guy on your right side regularly gets blown off the line of scrimmage...

I think Pouncey will make a difference for Kemo, too...

Stewie
09-24-2010, 10:45 AM
I agree. I've been advocating for Legursky since training camp. I don't know if he'll dominate, but it's hard to accept that he'll play worse than Essex. Kemo has the physical tools, if a little stiff, but he seems to lose concentration very easily. When he focuses, he's a beast; but focus is fickle with him.

I imagine it's hard to concentrate when the guy on your right side regularly gets blown off the line of scrimmage...

I think Pouncey will make a difference for Kemo, too...

Let's hope so, but so far it hasn't. Kemo has had his usual up and down performances. For example, look at Mendy's TD run against Atlanta. Kemo was the only lineman to get beat on that play. Fortunately, it was away from the hole. Besides, if you are a pro, you're expected to maintain your focus.

phillyesq
09-24-2010, 11:29 AM
It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen if some of the vets didn't see the field again. The offensive line has their center for the next 10-12 years in place, Kemo and Essex don't seem to be able to put it all together, Adams is stop gap and Starks' tenure may be up soon as well (by soon I mean 2-3 years).

It would be a welcomed sight if some of the younger offensive lineman showed enough to sit the vets and begin to put together the line that will there while Ben puts the finishing touches on his HOF career.

Pappy

I'd love to see Legursky come in and play well enough that Essex goes back to his role as game day backup, but I doubt it will happen. Legursky is an easy guy to root for, and I wish him the best, but so far, I haven't been very impressed by what I've seen from him at guard.

papillon
09-24-2010, 11:49 AM
It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen if some of the vets didn't see the field again. The offensive line has their center for the next 10-12 years in place, Kemo and Essex don't seem to be able to put it all together, Adams is stop gap and Starks' tenure may be up soon as well (by soon I mean 2-3 years).

It would be a welcomed sight if some of the younger offensive lineman showed enough to sit the vets and begin to put together the line that will there while Ben puts the finishing touches on his HOF career.

Pappy

I'd love to see Legursky come in and play well enough that Essex goes back to his role as game day backup, but I doubt it will happen. Legursky is an easy guy to root for, and I wish him the best, but so far, I haven't been very impressed by what I've seen from him at guard.

And, by the same token neither has Essex; I guess with my choice of equally challenged linemen I would opt for the younger and hope for improvement over the year and into next. Although, I guess Essex isn't exactly old, it's his 6th season and Legursky is in his 2nd.

Pappy

anger 82&95
09-24-2010, 12:02 PM
I have been pulling for Legursky from day one. I hope he has a great showing and wish him much luck! Who knows, maybe he will have a great game opening up more opportunities.
Same here, the guy is as strong as Atlas and he has a good attitude.

Mister Pittsburgh
09-24-2010, 12:29 PM
I can't help but envision him pulling. He runs, or at least did run, a 4.8 40yds at one point. Imagine that barrelling down on you. You could have him and kemo both pull to one side...you could have him pull to the left, kemo pull to the right....could open up some holes in the running game.

phillyesq
09-24-2010, 12:41 PM
It wouldn't be the worst thing to happen if some of the vets didn't see the field again. The offensive line has their center for the next 10-12 years in place, Kemo and Essex don't seem to be able to put it all together, Adams is stop gap and Starks' tenure may be up soon as well (by soon I mean 2-3 years).

It would be a welcomed sight if some of the younger offensive lineman showed enough to sit the vets and begin to put together the line that will there while Ben puts the finishing touches on his HOF career.

Pappy

I'd love to see Legursky come in and play well enough that Essex goes back to his role as game day backup, but I doubt it will happen. Legursky is an easy guy to root for, and I wish him the best, but so far, I haven't been very impressed by what I've seen from him at guard.

And, by the same token neither has Essex; I guess with my choice of equally challenged linemen I would opt for the younger and hope for improvement over the year and into next. Although, I guess Essex isn't exactly old, it's his 6th season and Legursky is in his 2nd.

Pappy

No argument there. While I'd almost always root for the younger guy, in this case, with Pouncey a rookie and Flozell new to the system, I think the team would be best served if Essex could play competently at RG. I'd love for Legursky to step up and prove me wrong, but I think he is probably best as a backup at the interior spots.

SteelHoss
09-24-2010, 01:37 PM
In camp and even during the OTAs it was reported that Legursky had once again improved his play. I have to admit that I've been rooting for the guy from the first day he put on a Steeler uniform. I am happy to see him make the best of his situation and hopefully continue to go forward. That said......GO BRONC!!! :tt2 :tt1 :tt2 :tt1

RuthlessBurgher
09-24-2010, 03:01 PM
Whoever is in there at RG will just be keeping the spot warm for Pouncey 2.0 (actually, I guess Mike would be 1.0 since he was born before Maurkice by a minute or so, but whatever).

papillon
09-24-2010, 03:10 PM
Whoever is in there at RG will just be keeping the spot warm for Pouncey 2.0 (actually, I guess Mike would be 1.0 since he was born before Maurkice by a minute or so, but whatever).

Mike Pouncey won't be available in the draft at 1.32. :tt2 Lets hope that Legursky or Essex improve tremendously over the course of this year. :Beer

Pappy

grotonsteel
09-24-2010, 05:11 PM
Whoever is in there at RG will just be keeping the spot warm for Pouncey 2.0 (actually, I guess Mike would be 1.0 since he was born before Maurkice by a minute or so, but whatever).

Mike Pouncey won't be available in the draft at 1.32. :tt2 Lets hope that Legursky or Essex improve tremendously over the course of this year. :Beer

Pappy

He is gonna drop if he kept playing center at Florida.... 8)

I hope they draft Mike in Rd 2 to play RG.

ikestops85
09-25-2010, 12:34 AM
Whoever is in there at RG will just be keeping the spot warm for Pouncey 2.0 (actually, I guess Mike would be 1.0 since he was born before Maurkice by a minute or so, but whatever).

Mike Pouncey won't be available in the draft at 1.32. :tt2 Lets hope that Legursky or Essex improve tremendously over the course of this year. :Beer

Pappy
I disagree. Florida is trying to help the Steelers by playing Mike at center where he is looking pretty bad. I hope they keep it up so we could draft him and play him in his rightful position of RG.