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Steelers finalize 53-man roster

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Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, 3:39 p.m.
 

Landry Jones did just enough not to get called Saturday.

The Steelers cut 22 players to get down the NFL-mandated 53, and Jones, last year's fourth-round pick, wasn't among them.

Jones threw for 224 yards in three preseason games and didn't lead the Steelers on a drive that resulted in a touchdown. But it was enough for the former Oklahoma quarterback to make the team.

Jones completed 14 passes for 97 yards in the Steelers' 10-0 loss to Carolina on Thursday in the preseason finale. The 6-foot-3, 221-pound Jones was sacked six times in the preseason. He will back up starter Ben Roethlisberger and No. 2 quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

The Steelers kept as many quarterbacks on their final roster as running backs. Le'Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and Dri Archer are the only running backs on the 53-man roster.

The Steelers kept six wide receivers, with Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Brown making the roster.

One player who was on the bubble was fifth-round pick Wesley Johnson (Vanderbilt).

Johnson played all 57 snaps at center in the final preseason game and did enough to make the roster despite getting shuffled across the line throughout training camp.

“I definitely feel like I've gotten a lot better,” Johnson said. “You know, I guess you're not going to learn how to be a great player in one camp. It's going to take awhile. You're never successful without a few failures. I'm happy with where I'm at. I just have to get better.”

There were no surprises.

Veteran offensive lineman Guy Whimper, linebackers Chris Carter and Howard Jones, tight end David Paulson, receiver Derek Moye (Rochester/Penn State), rookie tight end Rob Blanchflower (seventh-round pick), cornerback Shaquille Richardson (fifth-round pick) and defensive lineman Josh Mauro were released.

Also cut were tight end Bryce Davis; cornerbacks Isaiah Green and Dayonne Nunley (Gateway); safety Ross Ventrone (Chartiers Valley); running backs Josh Harris and Stephen Houston; defensive linemen Ethan Hemer, Roy Philon and Nick Williams; linebacker Dan Molls; quarterback Brendon Kay; wide receiver Lanear Sampson and offensive linemen Graham Pocic and Will Simmons.

The biggest surprise could be Howard Jones, a rookie out of Shepherd College who had five tackles and two fumble recoveries in the preseason.

Many of those released could be signed to the practice squad if they clear waivers. The Steelers can sign up to 10 practice squad players after noon Sunday. The team also could add players to the 53-man roster who were released by other teams.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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