The Steelers have lost a key offensive line starter to a season-ending injury.
The team announced Saturday it had placed center Fernando Velasco on injured reserve with an Achilles tendon injury. He had stepped into the starting lineup after Maurkice Pouncey suffered ACL and MCL tears in the Steelers’ season-opening loss to Tennessee.
Velasco, 28, suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s loss at Baltimore. He was replaced by Cody Wallace, who finished out the game. Wallace is listed as the Steelers’ top reserve center.
In related transactions Saturday, the Steelers signed offensive lineman Eric Olsen and offensive tackle Rashad Butler. The club also released cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Olsen was a reserve center and guard for New Orleans in 2012, while Butler appeared in nine games this season as a reserve with Cleveland.
The Steelers’ offensive tackle depth is in question entering Week 14 after Kelvin Beachum and Mike Adams were injured at Baltimore. Butler, who has appeared in 51 regular-season games, would likely figure as a reserve with Pittsburgh, while Olsen could back up both interior-line positions.