Pittsburgh Steelers  

 

As Pouncey emerges, Hartwig's role with Steelers in question

  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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With rookie center Maurkice Pouncey practicing with the first unit this week, veteran Justin Hartwig is concerned about his future with the Steelers, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

"Absolutely," Hartwig said after Thursday's practice. "Those are the things you think about when you're starting and, all of sudden, you got another guy playing in front of you. Obviously, you think about your future. That's the nature of this business."

Hartwig, the Steelers' No. 1 center the previous two seasons, hasn't been told that Pouncey will start, but he has been through this before -- most notably when he outplayed and replaced Sean Mahan before the start of the 2008 regular season.

"I've had the upper hand in these situations and I've had the lower hand," Hartwig said. "You kind of take things in stride."

Hartwig, who signed a four-year contract extension in 2009, is scheduled to earn $2,080,000 this season.

"I don't have any control or say over anything," Hartwig said. "To my knowledge, no final decisions have been made. But I'm not worrying about things I can't control. I'm battling my butt off. I want to be a starter. I'm very capable of being a starter. That's how I prepare every day, regardless if I'm with the (first-team offense) or the (second).

"At the end of the day, I want to be a Steeler. That's my goal -- to be here and contribute however I can."

Pouncey, the No. 18 overall pick in the draft, began training camp projected as the starting right guard until Steelers coach Mike Tomlin thrust him into competition at center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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