The Steelers trace their distinguished line of centers back to Ray Mansfield's rookie season of 1964. Since then, they've had four starters at the position who've played in 18 Pro Bowls and six Super Bowls.
Now, they're hoping to continue that tradition with Mahan, a no-name center who's spent most of his career as a guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Mahan will visit the Steelers "later this week," said a source who wished not to be identified. "It will probably be Friday."
The Steelers are looking at the 6-foot-3, 301-pound guard as their next center.
Right guard Kendall Simmons was used at center last preseason, but apparently the Steelers are looking to go in a different direction.
Mahan was drafted by Tampa Bay in the fifth round in 2003 out of Notre Dame, where he was a two-year starter and was voted the team's best lineman in 2002.
Mahan moved into the Bucs' starting lineup in 2004, when he replaced injured center John Wade for eight games. In 2005, Mahan started 16 games and one post-season game at right guard, and in 2006 started 12 games at left and right guard.
In his career, Mahan has started 36 regular-season games and played in 57.
Of course, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was a defensive assistant with Tampa Bay through the 2005 season. The Steelers' new offensive line coach, Larry Zierlein, is also said to be familiar with Mahan.
Mahan recently made free-agent visits to Cleveland and Seattle. Both teams view him as a guard, but, since he weighs only 301 pounds and is considered quick and agile for a lineman, the Steelers prefer him as a center.
Mahan played left guard against the Steelers last season in their 20-3 win over the Buccaneers, who still hope to re-sign the soon-to-be 27-year-old as their center of the future.