New Steelers Tyson Aramo: I’ve overcome the pressure of drafting badges.

Tyson Alualu

Tyson Alualu

LATROBE, Pa. — Tyson Alualu has 87 career starts and signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers in March as he enters his eighth NFL season.

He’s far from a draft bust.

But being a top-10 pick engenders a burden that Alualu — who starred at Cal and was selected 10th overall by Jacksonville in 2010 — often felt weighing down his 300-pound frame.

Those early years when Alualu was failing to rack up sack numbers? That was no joke, he says.

But managing the stress from the perception that you’re a bad draft pick actually helped fuel Alualu’s longevity, despite a lengthy adjustment.

“It probably did turn into stress, hearing people say he’s not playing how he should play as a top-10 pick,” Alualu told ESPN. “A lot of people don’t understand what you do go through, injuries, things that you face. It was tough. You have to stay true to who you are.”

Alualu is at peace with his career knowing he fought to stay on the field and keep himself valuable. Alualu never became a sack master (16.5 QB takedowns in seven years), but he’s played in all but two games and is widely considered underappreciated for his run-stopping contributions in Jacksonville, where he played as an end and tackle.

Now positioned as a key reserve on a deep Steelers defensive line, Alualu savors the chance to stick with a winner.

He no longer senses concerns from fans over whether he’ll play like his draft status suggests he should. But those criticisms never really have left him, either. He just learned to spin them positively, relying on his family for positivity until he figured out his NFL identity.

“What I’ve learned, looking back, is you can’t let those pressures turn into stress,” Alualu said. “It can definitely get to you if you start listening to other people’s opinions. You’ve got to learn to block out the noise and make the most of your opportunities. The good ones know how to use it to their advantage and just kind of ball out.”

Alualu admits to pressing early in his career, in part because of difficulties adjusting to coaching.

Then-defensive line coach Joe Cullen “engrained one move in my head,” he said. Alualu repped that move hundreds of times until he felt more mechanical than instinctual.

“For me, I was always good on reaction,” Alualu said. “They kind of took that away from me. I’m not blaming him, he was a good coach. But the way I took it was wrong. Looking back, I should have just continued to play like what got me to be a top pick instead of trying to please and do it his way.”

Alualu consulted a few NFL veterans about the balance between absorbing coaching and accentuating your strengths. Alualu believes he’s gotten better as a result.

Alualu welcomes hard coaching from Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell. He feels the chance to get creative with his pass-rush moves while staying true to the team’s 3-4 system.

Alualu isn’t expected to play like a top pick here. The Steelers have Cam Heyward, Stephon Tuitt and Javon Hargrave for that. Alualu is tasked with steady contribution.

But part of him is still fighting the perception battle, which still gives him that extra push off the line of scrimmage.

“You want to prove other people wrong that think you were a bad pick,” Alualu said.

Injured: The pony’s Malik Hooker started the camp on the PUP list.

on Tuesday, the Indianapolis Colts announced players who would begin the season on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. As expected, Andrew Luck was on the list. Another vital Colts player was a surprise: first-round pick Malik Hooker.

Hooker tweaked his hamstring during Monday’s conditioning test, per Kevin Bowen of the team’s official website.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Hooker hasn’t had any setbacks and that the PUP designation is just the team being cautious ahead of training camp opening this week. Hooker can come off the PUP list anytime during camp.

Fellow safety Clayton Geathers (neck) is also on the PUP and is expected to miss the start of the regular season.

Hooker’s hamstring tweak comes after the safety underwent shoulder and sports hernia surgeries in January. During the draft process the 21-year-old discussed with Around The NFL’s Conor Orr why he played through the injuries late during his college career. He was expected to be healthy heading into camp after missing all offseason workouts. Then the hamstring tweak struck.

The rangy Ohio State product could be a game-changer for the Colts secondary. Hooker is the ball-hawk the Colts have lacked during Chuck Pagano’s tenure. But first Hooker needs to get on the field.

Other injuries we’re tracking on Tuesday:

1. The Lions have placed punter Sam Martin on the active/non-football injury list due to an ankle injury he sustained earlier in July, the team announced. Rookie cornerback Teez Tabor and tackle Cyrus Kouandjio were also placed on the NFI list.

2. The Dolphins have placed linebacker Koa Misi on injured reserve, Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the situation.

3. The Saints are placing linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (foot) on injured reserve, Rapoport reported. New Orleans will release Ellerbe once he is healthy, Rapoport added.

4. The Panthers have waived/injured wide receiver Charles Johnson after he underwent surgery on his right knee, the team announced Tuesday.

49 people issue Jeremy Zuttah, Daniel Kilgore gets center position.

Daniel Kilgore

Daniel Kilgore

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The competition for the San Francisco 49ers’ starting center job ended after just 10 practices.

The Niners released veteran center Jeremy Zuttah — who was expected to compete with Daniel Kilgore — on Wednesday morning, after less than two weeks of training camp.

“That was a tough decision,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That was something we were really looking at last night. I think it says a lot about how Kilgore has been playing. He’s done a really good job in practice with that center spot.”

The 49ers acquired Zuttah in a March trade with the Baltimore Ravens; the teams also swapped sixth-round picks (No. 186 to Baltimore and No. 198 to San Francisco). Zuttah was coming off a Pro Bowl appearance, and his previous experience playing in offenses similar to Shanahan’s made him an intriguing fit.

At a personnel meeting Tuesday night, Shanahan, general manager John Lynch and their respective staffs spent time examining the roster and whether there was a spot for Zuttah.

“It just looked to us like we weren’t going to get Zuttah a lot of playing time throughout the preseason,” Shanahan said. “He’s a guy I have a lot of respect for; he’s done a lot of good things in this league. I just told him this morning I had a hard time doing that to him, and [I] wanted to give him a chance to go somewhere else instead of keeping him here and making him go through that.”

“I’d love to keep everybody, especially a guy who can still play in this league,” Shanahan added, “but we thought it was better for him and better for us to move on.”

Zuttah, 31, spent his first six seasons with Tampa Bay, playing both guard and center, after the Bucs used a third-round pick (83rd overall) on him in the 2008 NFL draft. He was in Baltimore for three seasons before the Niners traded for him. He played exclusively at center with the Ravens. He has appeared in 131 games, making 117 starts.

With Zuttah gone, the Niners will lean on Kilgore as the starter in the middle with veteran Tim Barnes as the current backup. Barnes signed with the Niners after the Rams let him go late in the offseason.

Kilgore and Barnes have also been getting work at guard, adding to the versatility Shanahan seeks in his offensive linemen.

“I think it’s very hard to make a final roster when you have a bunch of center-only [players],” Shanahan said. “Then it’s just a domino effect. You want to see these guys’ versatility. It’s not always exactly who is the best, it’s how to fill out the best 53-man roster and there’s not always an obvious right answer.”

Elsewhere on the interior of the offensive line, guard Joshua Garnett is set to have cleanup surgery on his left knee Thursday, according to Shanahan.

“Time frame, I haven’t been given one yet,” Shanahan said. “I’m hoping that he has a chance for Week 1 but I know that’s going to be a battle.”

In a corresponding move, the 49ers signed linebacker Sean Porter to a one-year deal. Porter, 26, appeared in two games for the Jaguars last season. He entered the league as a fourth-round pick of the Bengals in 2013.

Texans WR will be full of broken clavicle, indefinitely out

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. — Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller broke his collarbone in practice Wednesday and is out indefinitely, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Fuller, the Texans’ No. 2 receiver, jumped to catch a pass during a team drill and fell on his shoulder. He was looked at immediately and taken inside.

Texans coach Bill O’Brien said after practice that he had no comment on Fuller’s injury. But when asked if he was concerned about the fall, O’Brien said, “I’m concerned any time a guy has to leave practice early.”

Earlier in the practice, Fuller showed his speed by running for an easy touchdown after quarterback Tom Savage found him in stride on the left side of the field.

Fuller had 47 receptions for 635 yards and two touchdowns in 2016, his rookie season.

Earlier in the week, Fuller said he had a “tough” rookie season and was looking forward to being more comfortable on the field in Year 2.