The Pittsburgh Steelers had until 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon to get their roster down to the league mandated 53 players and there were a couple of surprises along the way.
The team released running back Jonathan Dwyer and three recent draft picks and activated tight end Heath Miller from the physically unable to perform list.
The move with Miller means that he can begin practicing with the team immediately and will be able to play when he is deemed ready. Had he stayed on the PUP list, Miller wouldn’t have been eligible to play until after week six.
As for Dwyer, the move isn’t necessarily shocking, but it is a bit surprising after the veteran had a decent camp and the other Steelers’ running backs aren’t necessarily lighting the world on fire. Throw in the fact that there are a couple of backs banged up and you would think the team would have maybe held onto Dwyer for a couple of weeks.
Dwyer was the Steelers’ first pick in the sixth round of the 2010 draft, and he had played in 21 games during his career with the team, including making six starts last season. He led the team in rushing with 623 yards on 156 carries (4.0 average), and he scored two touchdowns in 2012 and recorded back-to-back 100-yard games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Washington Redskins. He also led the Steelers in rushing this preseason with 34 carries for 136 yards (4.0 average).
After selecting Le’Veon Bell in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Steelers were trying to trade Dwyer. Having not found any takers, it’s not a total surprise that he was given his walking papers.
In addition to Dwyer, nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, the No. 4 pick in 2012; cornerback Terry Hawthorne, the No. 5 pick in 2013; and wide receiver Justin Brown, a sixth-round pick in 2013 were also released.
Other cuts included 12-year veteran punter Brian Moorman, cornerback Josh Victorian, linebacker Marshall McFadden, and tight end Jamie McCoy.
Most of the other cuts were all first year players.
Eight undrafted rookies were waived, including wide receiver Reggie Dunn; offensive linemen Mike Golic Jr., Joe Madsen and Chris Hubbard; defensive end Brian Arnfelt; linebackers Alan Baxter and Terence Garvin; and cornerback Devin Smith.
The rest of the first-year players to be waived included wide receiver Kashif Moore, running back Alvester Alexander, tight end Nathan Overbay, and tackle Joe Long.
Also waived were second-year linebacker Brian Rolle and second-year safety Ross Ventrone.
The moves leave the Steelers with 53 active players as the roster breaks down like this: three quarterbacks, five running backs, five wide receivers, five tight ends, eight offensive linemen, six defensive linemen, eight linebackers, 10 defensive backs, and three specialists.