The Pittsburgh Steelers will be short two starters on Super Bowl Sunday—Center Maurkice Pouncey and Defensive End Aaron Smith were finally rules out by Mike Tomlin after questions about their status lingered throughout the Super Bowl week. Smith, sidelined by a torn triceps muscle since late October, was a constant specter in Steelers playoff discussions, but they've finally decided he won't be ready after all. Pouncey, dealing with a high ankle sprain from the AFC Championship Game, had earlier expressed confidence in his own readiness, but the team's physicians disagreed.
Doug Legurksy will start at center instead. Legursky, an undrafted free agent who's spent time on the Steelers' practice squad, has never started a game in his brief NFL career. He'll replace Pouncey, a first round draft pick who was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl in his rookie season. Smith, a 34-year-old veteran, has 44 sacks in an NFL career that began in 1999. He played six games in 2010 before being sidelined.