PITTSBURGH (AP) -To think that a couple of weeks ago, Jared Retkofsky was excited about getting a pay raise from $12 to $15 per hour at the Fort Worth moving company where he was working.
One phone call from the Steelers changed all that, and Retkofsky now finds himself manning the often-overlooked role of long snapper - a week after the job's importance became evident when an errant snap may have cost Pittsburgh a game.
Rather than hefting sofas, Retkofsky now must loft the football gently into Mitch Berger's hands on a punt, an extra point or field goal. Berger also serves as the Steelers' holder.
The skill required for a seemingly ordinary task became evident when long snapper Greg Warren went down with a knee injury during a 21-14 loss to the Giants last Sunday. Linebacker James Harrison was forced to fill in, and he snapped the ball over Berger's head for a safety that tied the score and set up new York's winning touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter.
with Pittsburgh as an undrafted rookie in 2007 but was cut before the season started. He returned to the Steelers in January after being released from the Seahawks' practice squad, only to be cut in June before training camp started.
Still, he spent enough time with Pittsburgh to sympathize with what Harrison went through.
``You know, James can snap,'' Retkofsky said. ``He does it on a regular basis. He can do it and get it done. I don't doubt one second that he would do if again if he had to. It kind of stinks the way it happened.''
Retkofsky and Warren became friends despite competing for the same job, and Warren's dad called Retkofsky on Sunday to tell him of the injury. After the game, Warren called his former teammate and urged him to have his agent contact the Steelers.
``He obviously trusts me with his position, which is nice,'' Retkofsky said.
The Steelers held a tryout with four snappers on Monday and decided to bring back Retkofsky, who is expected to keep the job the rest of the season.
Unless, of course, there are some more bad moments like the one on Sunday.
Retkofsky was moving on from football, working for the moving company while exploring other careers, such as police work - and then the Steelers called.
He went through a full week of practice, saying, ``I'm just trying to get back into the rhythm of snapping.''
happen and what they're going to decide and what your future is,'' he said. ``Right now I kind of have an idea what my future is and what it can hold. As long as I do my job and do it right, I could have a career at this.''
Even if Harrison doesn't.
Meanwhile, running back Willie Parker went through a third consecutive day of practice Friday and appears ready to return from a four-week layoff with a knee injury on Monday night in Washington.
Not practicing were left guard Chris Kemoeatu, who was added to the injury list with a sore ankle; safety Ryan Clark (shoulder) and left tackle Marvel Smith (back).
Neither Clark, who was hurt against the Giants, nor Smith, who has missed two games, has practiced all week.

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