Steelers lose Fernando Velasco for season

PITTSBURGH – Another brutally physical game against the Ravens has cost the Steelers another starting center.

The Steelers placed Fernando Velasco on injured reserve Saturday afternoon, less than two days after he sustained a right Achilles injury in a 22-20 loss at Baltimore.

Velasco, signed to take over for injured Pro Bowler Maurkice Pouncey in early September, left M&T Bank Stadium in a walking boot and on crutches after the Steelers’ fourth-quarter rally fell just short. He is out for the rest of the season.

Velasco had been an excellent find for the Steelers after Pouncey tore his ACL in the season opener, and his loss means Cody Wallace is next up at center.

Wallace has played sparingly this season though he was pressed into duty at the end of the Ravens game.

The Steelers signed a pair of offensive linemen, center Eric Olsen and tackle Rashad Butler, Saturday and released cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke to make room for them on the 53-man roster.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Olsen has four career starts in 17 NFL games, and he had been with the Saints before getting released on Sept. 9. Butler had been with the Browns before getting released on Nov. 5. The 6-4, 310-pounder has played in 50 career games with four starts.

The signing of Butler signals that either starting left tackle Kelvin Beachum or backup tackle Mike Adams is out for the foreseeable future.

Beachum left the Ravens game with a knee injury, while Adams was knocked out of the game with an ankle injury.

The Steelers are off this weekend, and they resume practice Monday. At 5-7 the Steelers likely need to win their final four games to make the playoffs.