By Gary Fauber
Assistant Sports Editor
Doug Legursky’s home will always be Beckley, but for four years, his home was Pittsburgh. All he did in the Steel City was fulfill a dream of not only playing in the NFL, but also reach the pinnacle as a Super Bowl champion.
Now, the former Woodrow Wilson alumnus spends most of the year in northwestern New York, where he is the starting right guard for the Buffalo Bills.
On Sunday, Legursky will return to where his professional career began when the Bills visit the Steelers (2-6) for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Heinz Field.
“It will definitely be weird to be back at the place where I played for so long and seeing so many people that cared about me,” Legursky said in a phone interview this week. “But that’s the way the business is set up these days. People get bounced around a lot. But it’s definitely going to be an interesting feeling.”
Legursky, the 2004 Hunt Award winner as the state’s top high school lineman and a four-year starter at Marshall, signed with Buffalo in June after spending his first four seasons in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the practice squad when the Steelers beat Arizona in Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
He signed a two-year deal soon after and was added to the Steelers’ 53-man roster. He made his first career start against rival Baltimore in 2010 and eventually was the starting center in Pittsburgh’s loss to Green Bay in Super Bowl XLV that season.
That’s a lot of memories to come rushing back as he steps on to Heinz Field, this time in red, white and blue instead of yellow and black.
Legursky picked up a lot of fans in Pittsburgh, several of whom voiced their displeasure with the team when he was not re-signed. This game is one he has looked forward to since he realized it was on the schedule.
“A little bit,” he said. “I made so many friends in Pittsburgh, and of course it’s close to Beckley. So when I saw the schedule it was one I had circled on the calendar.”
Legursky’s parents, Wayne and Lorrie, will likely be among those in attendance. They actually have seen Legursky play in Buffalo, but the shorter trip to Pittsburgh will be nice.
“We (Legursky and his wife Megan) still have a house in Pittsburgh. That’s only three hours from Buffalo, so that’s a nice stopping point,” he said.
Legursky’s career with the Bills has been successful from an individual standpoint. He did suffer a knee injury in the preseason, but was able to avoid surgery in the injured reserve list.
He missed Buffalo’s first four games, but returned in Week 5 and has since started four straight.
“The knee is good,” Legursky said. “I’m getting back into a groove. After being off for so many weeks, I’ve been knocking the rust off, so to speak. So my body feels rested as opposed to the guys who have played nine weeks straight.”
Of course, he would trade it all for a win. The Bills (3-6) are young and have had an unsettled quarterback situation because of injuries to 2013 first-round draft pick E.J. Manuel and free agent pickup Thad Lewis. They started undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel in last week’s 23-13 loss to unbeaten Kansas City.
“We’ll get things turned around,” Legursky said. “We’re going through some growing pains with the young guys in a new system. We’ll see how far we can push it.”
Legursky has paid attention to the controversy in Miami, where second-year offensive lineman Jonathan Martin left the team last week after a situation during a team lunch was reportedly the final straw in a pattern of bullying against the former Stanford player.
Richie Incognito has become the poster child for the supposed hazing, and was suspended Sunday night for conduct detrimental to the team. The Dolphins heard a racist and threatening voice mail left for Martin from Incognito, who is gone indefinitely.
Legursky, who said he has met Incognito but did not elaborate on his personality, said the situation was discussed “extensively” by the Bills offensive linemen. He said hazing is part of all NFL lockerrooms, but acknowledged things can go too far.
“I don’t know what exactly happened,” Legursky said. “I was hazed as a younger player, and I have done my share. It’s all in good fun. I’m sure some of it can certainly go past what it should. I’m not saying that’s what happened, because I don’t know the truth.
“What is sad is that it’s got to be handled out of house. It should be kept with the team in the lockerroom.”
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