Dwyer, Ta'amu among Steelers cuts
Jonathan Dwyer wasn't a big fan of the running backs competition that lasted throughout Steelers training camp.
He probably likes it even less now.
Dwyer, the team's leading rusher last season, and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, a fourth-round draft pick in 2012, were among 22 players cut Saturday as the Steelers reached the 53-man roster limit.
Tight end Heath Miller was activated off the physically unable to perform list, although he is not yet close to returning from a knee injury that occurred Dec. 23. Miller couldn't have practiced during the first six weeks of the season had he remained on the list.
Terry Hawthorne, a cornerback and a fifth-round pick from Illinois, and receiver Justin Brown, a sixth-round pick, were the only 2013 draft selections released. Hawthorne had knee surgery in the spring and was injured for much of training camp. Brown was beaten out by Derek Moye, a former Penn State teammate.
Dwyer led the Steelers with 623 yards rushing last season and 136 yards on 34 carries during the preseason, but he became expendable when former Cowboys first-round pick Felix Jones was added in a trade Aug. 23.
Jones is expected to start the season opener against Tennessee next Sunday after rushing for 56 yards on 14 carries Thursday against Carolina.
Kept were running backs Le'Veon Bell, who is expected to start after he returns from a mid-foot sprain, LaRod Stephens-Howling and Isaac Redman, plus fullback Will Johnson. Redman made the team despite a pinched nerve that limited him to two preseason carries.
Dwyer felt confident of making the team after gaining 28 yards on six carries against Carolina but said, “Everybody has to deal with all of this (speculation), and that's going to be a problem, in my opinion.”
Among the cuts were linebackers Alan Baxter, Brian Rolle and Marshall McFadden. Making the team were outside linebacker Chris Carter, who had two sacks against Carolina, and inside linebackers Kion Wilson and Vince Williams, a sixth-round draft pick.
Former Pro Bowl punter Brian Moorman also was cut. He was competing with incumbent Drew Butler.
Ta'amu, a fourth-round pick in 2012, lost his job a year after a washout rookie season in which he was involved in a high-speed auto chase on the South Side that ended with his vehicle striking several others. He was placed on probation for 18 months.
Because of injuries to Miller and Matt Spaeth (foot), the Steelers will begin the season with five tight ends, including David Paulson, David Johnson and Michael Palmer, who played well on special teams.
Also cut were running back Alvester Alexander, defensive lineman Brian Arnfelt; linebacker Terence Garvin; receivers Reggie Dunn and Kashif Moore; offensive linemen Mike Golic Jr., Chris Hubbard, Joe Long and Joe Madsen; tight ends Jamie McCoy and Nathan Overbay; and defensive backs Devin Smith, Ross Ventrone and Josh Victorian.