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PITTSBURGH — In an NFL business that treats fringe roster spots like Airbnb rentals, Pittsburgh Steelers left tackle Al Villanueva heard comforting words from coach Mike Tomlin back in 2014.

No matter what happens, we’re giving you one year of football stability.

Villanueva flipped that year on the practice squad into a starting role when Kelvin Beachum got hurt, then into a $24 million contract in the summer of 2017.

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“Some teams view players as come in, come out,” Villanueva said. “Some teams actually develop and give a lot of chances. That actually gave me so much peace of mind. You press a little less.”

The “next man up” mantra permeates every NFL locker room, but the Steelers (7-4-1) believe their faith in every player minimizes the damage from big injuries. The latest subject cases are fifth-round rookie Jaylen Samuels and eight-year veteran Stevan Ridley, who will split time at running back while James Conner nurses an ankle sprain.

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