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Mauti visits Steelers; LB Sylvester re-signed

| Wednesday, April 3, 2013, 11:48 a.m.

The Steelers continue to signal that linebacker is a priority for them in the NFL Draft.

They brought in two more college linebackers for visits Wednesday — Michael Mauti of Penn State and Malliciah Goodman of Clemson. Of the 10 potential draft picks who have visited the South Side this week, seven have been linebackers.

The Steelers can bring in 20 more college players for visits.

Three unrestricted free agents, including running back-kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling of Johnstown and Pitt, also met with the Steelers on Wednesday. Linebacker Tavares Gooden, a former third-round pick of the Ravens who played the past two seasons for the 49ers, and guard Antowine Caldwell of the Texans were brought in.

Caldwell started six games for Houston last season but dealt with multiple injuries and did not start during the second half of the season.

The Steelers have a need for an experienced kick returner after releasing 2012 rookie Chris Rainey. Stephens-Howling played that role with the Cardinals, leading the NFL with 1,548 kickoff return yards in 2010. He has three career kickoff return touchdowns, including two in 2010.

Mauti, one of the team leaders as Penn State won eight games, has expressed a desire to play for the Steelers. But he has a history of knee injuries and is regarded as a low-round draft choice, at best.

Goodman had 12 career sacks at Clemson. He is seen as a potential second-day pick.

Also Wednesday, linebacker Stevenson Sylvester, a restricted free agent who wasn't tendered a contract, signed a one-year contract with the Steelers.

Sylvester has played mostly on special teams since being a fifth-round draft pick from Utah in 2010, making 23 tackles and forcing two fumbles. He has played in 41 career games, making one start.

When free agency began, the Steelers tendered offers to four of their six restricted free agents but did not make offers to Sylvester and former starting punter Jeremy Kapinos, who was coming off an injury.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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