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Steelers sign former Pats' punter, cut Butler

| Monday, Sept. 2, 2013, 6:42 p.m.
Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko (14) punts against the Buccaneers during the second quarter Friday, Aug. 16, 2013, in Foxborough, Mass.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin watches punter Drew Butler and the coverage unit during practice Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, at St. Vincent in Latrobe.

Punters Drew Butler and Brian Moorman competed in training camp, but neither wound up with the job.

The Steelers on Monday signed former Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko and cut Butler, who averaged 43.8 yards last year in his first NFL season. Mesko was to make $1.3 million for the Patriots, who chose instead to keep undrafted rookie Ryan Allen of Louisiana Tech. Mesko, a fifth-round pick in 2010, averaged 44.2 yards in three seasons with New England, including a 46.5 average in 2011.

In another move, cornerback Antwon Blake, who had 12 special teams tackles last season for Jacksonville, was added to the roster, and cornerback Isaiah Green was cut.

• Running back Isaac Redman (pinched nerve) was limited to only two preseason carries but ran the first four series Monday with the starters as the Steelers began preparations for the opener against Tennessee. Redman is taking it as a positive sign, despite the newly added Felix Jones' production in the last two preseason games. “(That's what) the starter does, and I'm just preparing as if I'm the starter,” Redman said.

• Running back Le'Veon Bell (right mid-foot sprain) is no longer wearing a protective boot, and he's hopeful of returning as early as Sept. 16 against Cincinnati. But he is determined not to come back prematurely. “It's a long football season, so I'm going to be smart about it so, once I actually do come back, it's still not bothering me ... and I'm not thinking about it on the field.” Bell said the layoff allowed his bruised left knee to heal.

• Tight end Heath Miller still won't guess when he might return, but he considers coming off the physically unable to perform list a positive sign as he heals from major knee surgery. Miller couldn't have played or practiced in the first six weeks if he stayed on the PUP list. “As I said all along, just take each day and get better, and I knew if I did that, it would be a good outcome and it was,” Miller said.

• Wide receiver Derek Moye, of Rochester and Penn State, spent all last summer worrying if he would survive the Saints' final roster cut. He didn't. This year, he tried to focus mostly on his job and wound up making the Steelers' 53-man roster. “(In 2012) I was counting the receivers ahead of me and looking at the special teams (players). This year, I went out and tried to take advantage of each play and each opportunity, and I got to show the coaches I can play,” he said. Moye had a team-high 10 catches during the preseason.

— Alan Robinson

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