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Garrett Hartley injury could leave Steelers stranded at kicker -- again

As of Sunday night, there's no update on the Pittsburgh Steelers kicker Garrett Hartley's hamstring injury other than Mike Tomlin saying the outlook "doesn't look positive."

Last time Tomlin took that tone postgame, Shaun Suisham was headed for injured reserve with a torn ACL.

The Steelers could be looking for a third kicker in four weeks, which is a brutal way to live. No free agent kicker was replacing Suisham, a top-10 kicker in the league, but Hartley was a good backup. On his first practice day, he made 10-of-13 kicks in live action simulation, and two of those misses were on 50-plus yarders. From 35 to 45 yards, Hartley is pretty consistent. He doesn't have a booming leg for kickoff returns -- 80 percent of his kickoffs have been returned this preseason, according to Pro Football Focus -- but the Steelers could live with that.

Now, if Hartley's out for an extended period, the offense still doesn't know what to expect from the field-goal unit when it approaches the red zone.

The leftover options are serviceable but not overly exciting.

The Steelers can revisit recent tryout players Alex Henery, a career 86 percent kicker before his 1-of-5 performance got him fired in Detroit last year, or veteran Jay Feely, who attempted four kicks for Chicago last year (he went 3-of-4).

Then there's Billy Cundiff, who made 22-of-29 kicks for Cleveland last year but was released after suffering a knee injury. Hartley replaced him.

Those aren't bad fallback options, but the Steelers have reason to feel uneasy when forced to reach into the third-string bin for precious points.

Between injuries and suspensions this preseason, the Steelers must be ready to start the games that matter already.