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Steelers A proud lineage

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Since Ray Mansfield became the starting center for the 1964 season -- a span of 39 years -- only four men have regularly occupied the position: Mansfield, Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson, Jeff Hartings.

Ray Mansfield, 1964-76

The Ranger started the string. Mansfield was a second-round draft choice out of Washington by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1962, but former Steelers coach Buddy Parker was able to purchase his contract for $100 after the 1963 season. Mansfield capped his career by playing on the Steelers' first two Super Bowl championship teams. He died Nov. 2, 1996, of a heart attack while hiking in the Grand Canyon.

Mike Webster, 1974-88

An ironman of unmatched proportions in Steelers history, Webster made 178 of a possible 182 starts between 1977 and 1988 and played every down for six consecutive seasons from 1980-85. He was drafted by the Steelers in the fifth round in 1974 and went on to win four Super Bowl championship rings.

Dermontti Dawson, 1988-2000

Drafted as a guard out of Kentucky in the second round in 1988 and started five games there that season before moving to center. All he did after that was become the pre-eminent performer at his position in the NFL. Dawson's career ended because of the same hamstring injury that halted his consecutive starts streak at 171 in 1999.

Jeff Hartings, 2001-02

Following the formula that worked so well with Dermontti Dawson, the Steelers switched Hartings from guard to center after acquiring him as a free agent before the 2001 season.

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