The NFL notebook …
PITTSBURGH ó The Pittsburgh Steelers’ final 53-man roster includes all the usual names, including captains Ben Roethlisberger, James Farrior, Hines Ward and Arnaz Battle.
One name, however, raised some serious eyebrows on one of the NFL’s most stable teams.
Undrafted free agent tight end Wesyle Saunders survived cut day Saturday and will likely be in uniform next weekend when the defending AFC champions open the season at Baltimore.
“I didn’t sleep at all the night before (Friday into Saturday) or eat anything Saturday,” Saunders said. “You just sit around, hoping that your phone doesn’t ring, but it was all good after 6 o’clock. It was a wrap.”
Saunders beat out veteran John Gilmore for the third tight end spot behind Heath Miller and David Johnson. Not bad for a player who hasn’t played a regular season down since his junior year at South Carolina in 2009. He was kicked off the team last fall after being questioned by NCAA officials about potential agent contact regarding a party in South Beach, Fla.
The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Saunders hoped to be drafted but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo foot surgery. He went undrafted, though the Steelers were impressed enough by his athleticism to take a chance.
Saunders responded with a fine training camp, drawing raves for his blocking and catching four passes for 46 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s got a tremendous up-side,” said coach Mike Tomlin. “He didn’t play football a year ago, but all of those were negatives in terms of him being able to show what he’s capable of. So, when you get to this point, we look at where he’s capable of going. By no means is he a finished product.”
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó The San Francisco 49ers have added third quarterback Scott Tolzien, claiming him off waivers from the San Diego Chargers a day after releasing Josh McCown.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said the team likely would add a third quarterback.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó The New York Giants signed former Denver Broncos running back Andre Brown.
NEW YORK ó Aaron Maybin came to the Jets hoping to jump-start his career after two lost seasons with the Buffalo Bills.
It appears the former first-round pick will be looking to shed his label as a draft bust elsewhere.
The Jets waived Maybin Sunday.
RICHMOND, Texas ó A man has been found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at the home of Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith.
Foul play is not suspected, but an autopsy has been ordered.
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