Steelers' Reid, Drummond among final cuts
Before leaving the Steelers locker room after their final preseason game Thursday night, return specialist Eddie Drummond gave his playbook to an attendant.
When asked if he was turning it in, Drummond laughed and said, "No, I just don't want to carry it home."
As it turns out, the Pittsburgh native won't be carrying it anywhere.
Drummond, wide receiver Willie Reid and defensive end Ryan McBean were among the cuts the Steelers made Saturday as they pared their roster to 53 players. The team also placed quarterback Charlie Batch, recovering from a broken collarbone, on injured reserve, ending the Homestead native's season and possibly his career with the Steelers.
Dallas Baker beat out Reid, a third-round pick in the 2006 draft, for the final wide receiver spot on the roster. The Steelers, meanwhile, tabbed 12th-year veteran Mitch Berger to punt and hold for kicker Jeff Reed instead of Paul Ernster, who was waived.
The Steelers waived and reached injury settlements with two of their draft choices from this year, linebacker Mike Humpal (fifth) and safety Ryan Mundy (sixth). They did the same with veteran linebacker Arnold Harrison, who tore his ACL in the Steelers' 19-16 win over the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
There were no major surprises among the cuts made by the Steelers, who open the regular season next Sunday against the visiting Houston Texans.
They waived safety Grant Mason, who played five games for the Steelers in 2007, defensive tackle Scott Paxson, guard Matt Lentz, offensive tackle Jeremy Parquet, tight end Lee Vickers and running back Justin Vincent.
Also cut were undrafted rookie free agents such as linebacker Patrick Bailey, guard Doug Legursky, cornerback Roy Lewis, defensive end Jordan Reffett, wide receiver Micah Rucker, tight end Dezmond Sherrod and cornerback Travis Williams.
One undrafted rookie, outside linebacker Donovan Woods, made the team.
The Steelers will sign eight players to the practice squad today.
The most significant move made yesterday involved the 33-year-old Batch, who has been one of the top backup quarterbacks in the NFL and one of the most respected players in the Steelers locker room.
Batch, whose contract expires at the end of this season, had said at the end of training camp that he preferred not to go on injured reserve. But the play of Byron Leftwich and rookie fifth-round draft pick Dennis Dixon apparently gave the Steelers little choice.
Leftwich, a veteran who has started in the NFL, will serve as Ben Roethlisberger's backup. Dixon, meanwhile, showed enough promise that the Steelers decided they could not risk waiving him and then signing him to the practice squad.
Reid led the Steelers in receptions (nine) during the preseason, but he averaged just nine yards a catch and didn't figure into the team's plans as a return man.
Neither did Drummond, who made the Pro Bowl as a return specialist in 2004.
The Steelers apparently will go with Mewelde Moore and rookie first-round pick Rashard Mendenhall on kickoff returns and Moore as well as Santonio Holmes on punt returns.
By cutting Vickers and Sherrod, the Steelers have only two tight ends (Heath Miller and Matt Spaeth) on their roster. Offensive tackle Max Starks, however, has experience playing tight end in short-yardage situations.