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Brad Wing hoping to stick with Steelers

8/30/2014

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers punter Brad Wing is hoping history -- or at least a variation of it -- does not repeat itself over the next couple of days.

His father, David, tried out for the Detroit Lions as a punter in 1990 but did not survive the final cut. Kevin Colbert was the Lions' pro scouting director at the time.

Now, as the Steelers' general manager, Colbert will have an even bigger say as to whether a Wing, 23, punts for his employer.

"Hopefully it's not double trouble," Brad Wing said with a smile late Thursday night.

Wing's status is intriguing because he is a near lock to make the 53-man roster, which has to be finalized by 4 p.m. ET today. It is what might happen after late Saturday afternoon that will have Wing all but jumping any time his cell phone rings.

Drew Butler made the 53-man roster last year after presumably winning the punting competition he had waged with veteran Brian Moorman. A couple of days later, the Steelers claimed Zoltan Mesko off waivers and cut Butler.

That is not the only reason why Wing will be on edge for the next couple of days.

The former LSU standout did not seize the punting job even though he had no competition in training camp and the preseason with veteran Adam Podlesh out because of a family matter.

Wing displayed excellent hang time and six of his 29 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. But inconsistency also plagued the Aussie, and a 25-yard punt in the Steelers' final preseason game cannot be ignored even though Wing otherwise made a strong closing argument.

"I had a few I wish I could have back," Wing said after the Steelers' 10-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. "It seems like I'm saying that every week. I'm just going to continue to work to eliminate the bad ones. Hopefully I've shown enough and hopefully they have enough trust and confidence in me that I can go into the regular season with them."

Coach Mike Tomlin, who showed little patience with Mesko and his one bad punt a game last season, has given Wing several votes of confidence.

Will it be enough for him to stick on the 53-man roster after the Steelers have had a chance to see which other punters surface on the waiver wire today?

"All I want to do is just be here and play football," said Wing, who didn't make the Philadelphia Eagles last season. "I'm still very young and I think they know that. I don't think I've reached my full potential."