The Steelers waived punter Zoltan Mesko on Tuesday, after he had been inconsistent since being signed before the start of the regular season.
Mesko was signed on Sept. 2 following his release by the New England Patriots, and the Steelers in turn released second-year punter Drew Butler. Mesko ranked 16th in the AFC and 31st in the NFL among punters with a 36.7-yard net average. He punted 34 times, with only three inside the 20-yard line.
The team added punter Mat McBriar, a 10-year veteran who played eight seasons for the Dallas Cowboys. McBriar was born in Melbourne, Australia, and began as an Australian rules football player. He played at the University of Hawaii and signed with the Denver Broncos as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2003. He was traded to the Seattle Seahawks in the 2003 preseason for a conditional draft pick, but Seattle waived him prior to the start of the season.
The Cowboys signed McBriar to their practice squad late in 2003 and signed him to the active roster in 2004. McBriar was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2010 and named second-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. He has a career average of 45.4 yards on 549 punts with a 38.0 net average.
Coach Mike Tomlin was asked about Mesko’s performance against the Oakland Raiders, when he had a punt blocked, during his weekly press conference on Tuesday. And as he has said in the past, Tomlin pointed to inconsistency being a problem.
“The punting has been very similar to how it’s been the previous weeks and really how I kind of characterize it, he’s had his moments, positively and negatively,” said Tomlin. “He’s been inconsistent and that’s not good enough. He needs to perform better.
“But along with the obvious negativity in the game, I thought he rebounded well and really finished the game strong with some quality punts, particularly a couple that were downed, one was downed inside the one or two-yard line. It was a leg-up in the waning moments of the game as we tried to work our way back into it.”