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Steelers sign punter Kapinos; Roethlisberger to wear shield

The Steelers signed former Penn State punter Jeremy Kapinos today to replace Daniel Sepulveda, who will have surgery Friday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and was placed on injured reserve.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Kapinos, a three-year NFL veteran who played for the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season, “met the criteria we're looking for” in a tryout.

The 6-foot-1, 233-pound Kapinos averaged 44.5 yards on four punts, including a long of 55 yards and placed two inside the 20-yard line for the Colts Nov. 1 against Tampa Bay.

He spent four games in 2008 and all of last season with Green Bay, where he averaged 43.8 yards on 66 punts, with 15 landing inside the 20 one blocked, in 2009.

“He's got league experience, he's kicked in games this year and, of course, he's no stranger to the elements, as we know that that may be a factor for us moving forward,” said Tomlin, who added that Kapinos' ability to hold on placekicks was “an element in the equation” but not the determining factor.

Tomlin also addressed what he called a “laundry list” of injuries against Baltimore at his weekly news conference at the Steelers' South Side facility:

Most notably, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery Monday to repair a broken nose and will probably wear a clear shield for protection.

Tomlin declared tight end Heath Miller (concussion) doubtful for Sunday's game against Cincinnati, but said that tight end Matt Spaeth (concussion) has a “clear bill of health” and has been fully cleared to practice Tuesday.

Right tackle Flozell Adams has a mild high-ankle sprain, and Trai Essex is the leading candidate to replace him in the starting lineup if Adams can't play Sunday.

Tomlin said safety Troy Polamalu (ankle) also could be limited in practice for precautionary reasons.

Also, defensive end Aaron Smith was cleared to start lifting weights after an MRI, which Tomlin called “encouraging.” Smith will be re-evaluated after another MRI in two weeks.

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