If London Fletcher does not suit up Sunday in Pittsburgh, it's possible reserve Lorenzo Alexander will replace the venerable veteran and join the starting lineup for the first time since 2010.
Fletcher has played in 231 consecutive games, the longest streak among active players in the NFL. But the 37-year-old suffered a strained right hamstring Sunday and began complaining of balance problems Monday.
Fletcher did not practice Wednesday and was scheduled to be examined by a neurologist later in the day. He did not appear to practice Thursday, either.
Coach Mike Shanahan is expected to provide an update on Fletcher's status Thursday afternoon.
“Hopefully he’ll be cleared,” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said. “We feel good [about] Lorenzo and Keenan” Robinson.
Alexander, meantime, started 12 games at linebacker in 2010 and saw ample time there against the Vikings, recording 1.5 sacks and a fumble recovery deep in Minnesota’s end.
When Fletcher left Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium early in the fourth quarter, Alexander stepped in. Robinson also saw time at Fletcher's inside linebacker position.
“They did a nice job when they stepped in for London last week,” Haslett said. “It would be weird, a different feeling obviously” without Fletcher.
If Fletcher can’t go, it also could potentially change the complexion of a key matchup. Fletcher normally would assist in covering Heath Miller, the Steelers’ 6 foot 5, 256-pound tight end who’s averaging five receptions a game. That responsibility would then fall on Alexander, who has significantly less experience in pass coverage.
“London is awesome on the tight ends,” Haslett said. “Heath is a heck of a player. 'Zo will have his work cut out for him in that area. But he’ll be up to the challenge.”