If it comes down to Cody Wallace replacing Ramon Foster on Sunday night in Carolina, at least this time it wouldn't be the first time.
Wallace was much more of an unknown quantity when he signed with the Steelers on Sept. 1, 2013, fresh from a one-season stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Four starts and nine appearances later the Steelers re-signed Wallace for 2014 with evidence at their disposal he'd be a capable replacement if needed.
And Wallace returned for his second season with the team reassured he'd be up to the task of filling a void in such a capacity.
"Being a backup in the league for a long time you kind of forget that you're still a good athlete, you can play football even though you're a backup," Wallace said. "Getting a chance to go out there and play against good competition and do well definitely had me feeling a lot better coming into this season."
Wallace may get another chance on Sunday night against the Panthers.
Foster (ankle) showed up on the practice report as limited on Wednesday, didn't practice on Thursday and said he did only individual work today.
"It's going to be Coach's call," Foster said.
Foster officially was listed as questionable for the Carolina game following today's practice.
"I'm going to be ready either way," Wallace said. "Ramon, he's a guy who's going to work hard. He's going to do what he has to do to be out there, and he's dedicated. We'll see what happens. We'd love to have him suited up and have everybody available, but that's how the game goes sometimes – next man up."
Guard Chris Hubbard, who didn't dress for the first two games this season, said today he "rotated in with the No. 1s," with the idea of "getting a feel for it," in the event Wallace starts for Foster and Hubbard dresses as the backup interior lineman.
"I'm ready," said Hubbard, a practice squad player last season who never has dressed for a regular season NFL game.
Wallace dressed as the backup center/guard for the Steelers' first two games this season and briefly replaced Foster at left guard for a second quarter series on Sept. 11 at Baltimore. Mike Adams dressed as the backup tackle against Oakland and Baltimore.
Wallace started the final four games at center last season after Fernando Velasco, who had been replacing Maurkice Pouncey, tore an Achilles on Thanksgiving night against the Ravens.
The starts were the first four of Wallace's career. He had previously appeared in one game with San Francisco (2008-09) and eight with Tampa Bay (2012). In between Wallace spent time on the practice squads of the Lions, Texans and Jets.
Wallace made his Steelers debut last Oct. 27 at Oakland.
"Ramon went down and then also (David) DeCastro, so I played left (guard) a little bit and then switched over to right (guard) in that game," he remembered. "I have more time logged at center but I'm good on all the assignments, technique (at guard), all that stuff."
Doubtful: Running back Dri Archer (ankle).
Questionable: Foster (ankle).
Probable: Wide receiver Martavis Bryant (shoulder), defensive end Brett Keisel (not injury related), nose tackle Steve McLendon (shoulder), tight end Heath Miller (not injury related), wide receiver Lance Moore (groin), safety Troy Polamalu (not injury related).