The Pittsburgh Steelers shook up their backfield and, in one fell swoop, brought relief to the passing game Saturday.
The team announced that running back Jonathan Dwyer was among 22 players released as the Steelers whittle their way to the final 53 players. Pittsburgh also activated tight end Heath Miller from the physically unable to perform list, making him immediately available for practice and -- if he's healthy enough -- the Sept. 8 season opener against the Tennessee Titans.
The Dwyer move is surprising, if only because rookie Le'Veon Bell will start the season on the shelf with a foot injury. Until then, Isaac Redman sits in the starter's seat, but Dwyer's release also means Felix Jones has a place on the roster. LaRod Stephens-Howling rounds out what promises to be a committee approach to the ground game.
Dwyer, Pittsburgh's sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, started six games last season and led the Steelers in rushing with 623 yards and two touchdowns on 156 carries. The team reportedly wasn't in love with Dwyer's work ethic:
The silver lining in Dwyer's release might be Pittsburgh's belief that Bell isn't far away from getting on the field.
Coming off major knee surgery, Miller isn't likely to be a factor out of the gate, but the Steelers have avoided stashing him away on the PUP, which would have kept him locked up until Week 7.
Miller's bound to lose a step post-surgery, but a healthy Miller is Ben Roethlisberger's best friend in this offense. With Mike Wallace no longer attached to the passing game, the tight end's return is big news.The "Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.