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Steelers Rookie Gets Audition for Backup Center Job



Steelers OL Spencer Anderson
Steelers offensive lineman Spencer Anderson at rookie minicamp on May 12, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

UNITY TWP., Pa. — The Pittsburgh Steelers have a backup center problem, and they are looking to see if rookie Spencer Anderson can fill that gap.

The Steelers came into the season with Kendrick Green moved back to the center position and second on the depth chart at that spot behind Mason Cole.

The team has also been using Green as a fullback and h-back, with what appeared to be the intention of give him some versatility to make him more valuable than just a backup center.

But Green was a near-disaster at center in his rookie season in 2021, and two years later, he didn’t look much better in his first game action of the preseason on Friday. He botched a snap, had a holding penalty, and looked every bit like a fullback playing out of position.

RELATED: The Steelers Have a Backup Center Problem

Former practice squad player Ryan McCollum is the only other center on the Steelers roster, and Green has consistently been a better performer than him. Guards James Daniels and Nate Herbig have played center, and Herbig has spent some time there this summer. But both of those players are currently focused on their primary roles as starter and backup at guard.

That brings Anderson to the table. The Steelers drafted the rookie out of Maryland in the seventh round for his versatility, and to this point, he’s played every position along the line except center.

Tuesday, in the second practice after Green’s meltdown in Tampa, he changed that, playing with the second team at center in extended reps.

“He did all those things in college, and so you know, if you show versatility, it helps his cause and ours, and he appears to be a young guy at least intellectually that’s capable of handling it,” head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. “The more we give him reps will be revealed whether he’s physically capable of handling, so far so good.”

There were some growing pains on Tuesday. At times, Anderson snapped the ball before the cadence. Once he earned the team an “everyone but the center” false start penalty. But overall, it was not a bad day. 

It takes quick hand usage to fit in at center, and Anderson displayed that. His snaps, when they were on time, were clean and accurate. Going against a number of linemen, Anderson never truly got pushed back into the pocket.

As Tomlin said, one practice doesn’t reveal much, but it looks like the Steelers will give Anderson a shot to be the one to solve their backup center problem.

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