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Desmond Bishop replaced Barnett and Jones’ spot went to Frank Zombo, an undrafted rookie from Central Michigan. In need of more depth, the Packers called Walden, a 25-year-old journeyman.

A sixth-round pick by Dallas in 2008, the Cowboys cut him before the season. He played a little for Kansas City, was cut again and wound up in Miami. He played 11 games for the Dolphins last season and two this season. They got rid of him and he was out of work for about a month before signing with Green Bay on Oct. 27.

“I knew I’d get a call sooner or later from some team,” Walden said. “I was getting a lot of workouts. In due time, I figured I would land somewhere.”

In December, Zombo went down. Walden got the first two starts of his career, followed by three more in the playoffs. However, he sprained an ankle in the NFC championship game. He practiced Wednesday but was held out Thursday because of lingering soreness. Zombo took his place on the first team, and is healthy enough to play Sunday if needed.

Maybe it’s only fitting that an injury fill-in would be hurt, making a starter again out of another injury fill-in _ a guy who went to training camp just hoping to make the practice squad and wound up a starter a few weeks into the season.

“It’s pressure, excitement, all of those,” Zombo said. “It doesn’t just take guys who are genetic animals _ that are huge and run fast. It takes heart to play this game. I think that’s what we’ve got. We love to play for each other.”

Pittsburgh was patching holes in its lineup from the start.

With quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suspended from the first four games, Dennis Dixon filled in. Then he got hurt and Charlie Batch took over. The Steelers were 3-1 when Roethlisberger returned.

Since then, the offensive line has been the revolving door. Left tackle Max Starks was replaced by Jonathan Scott and right guard Trai Essex by Foster, a former standout at Tennessee who made the Steelers in 2009 as an undrafted free agent.

Legursky started four games for Essex before Foster took over. Legursky has never started an NFL game at center, but in the AFC championship he showed he could handle the job.

“They’re survivors,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said, referring to his offensive line. “They embrace our motto that ‘The standard is the standard.’ Guys have stepped up and proved they are capable of being reasons why we win. It’s a good group. It’s a close-knit group, but more importantly than anything else, they subscribe to that standard.”