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Hartwig seizes starting center job

Aug. 22, 2008

The Steelers’ search for a starting center is over, the way we hear it. Sources say Justin Hartwig appears to be the winner of a position battle with Sean Mahan and will top the depth chart in Week One of the regular season. Hartwig, who was released by the Panthers after last season, looks like a stronger, bigger option with a better base. Word is he has a sound understanding of the playbook and has gained the faith of OL coach Larry Zierlein. Center was the only position on the O-line in which there was a battle for a starting role, so Pittsburgh finally can move forward with full knowledge of its front five in the remaining weeks before the season opener. While Mahan is relegated to backup duty for now, it might not be for long. Hartwig battled injuries throughout his two-year stint in Carolina, appearing in just 17 games.