PITTSBURGH (AP) - Justin Hartwig, the Steelers’ starting center the past two seasons, was cut Saturday after the team failed to work out a trade for him.
Hartwig, due to make $2,080,000 this season, was beaten out by first-round draft pick Maurkice Pouncey. Pouncey was expected to play right guard this season, but settled in at center sooner than anticipated and started the final two exhibition games.
Also cut were Stefan Logan, the primary kickoff and punt returner last season; offensive lineman Kraig Urbik, a third-round pick in 2009; cornerback Joe Burnett, fullback Frank Summers, defensive linemen Sunny Harris, Steve McLendon and Doug Worthington, linebacker Patrick Bailey, wide receiver Tyler Grisham and safety Da’Mon Cromartie-Smith.
Quarterback Byron Leftwich is on the 53-man opening day roster although he may be out for a month after straining a left knee ligament during the final preseason game Thursday against Carolina.
The moves mean the Steelers will keep six wide receivers, an unusually high number for them, and eight rookies. Worthington, a seventh-round pick from Ohio State, was the only rookie cut. Rookie offensive lineman Chris Scott earlier went on the physically unable to perform list.
Logan was signed out of the CFL last season and set a team single-season record for kickoff return yardage, but did not break any punts or kickoffs for touchdowns. While he was tried at wide receiver, his inability to adequately play another position also led to him being cut.
Burnett, a fifth-round pick last season, was bypassed by rookie Crezdon Butler. Burnett played little last season, although he dropped a potential interception that allowed Oakland to go on and score the winning touchdown in a 27-24 win in Pittsburgh last season. Summers, another fifth-round pick in 2009, played in two games last season before going on the injured reserve list with a back injury.
Bailey was the Steelers’ rookie of the year in 2008, when they won the Super Bowl with almost no contribution from their rookie class.
Some of the players cut will be added to the practice squad on Sunday once they clear waivers.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger does not count against the 53-man roster limit while he sits out his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
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