AFC North: Jared Retkofsky

AFC North links: Deja vu in Pittsburgh

June, 7, 2010
6/07/10
10:55
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Baltimore Ravens

Wide receiver David Reed impressed his coaches during a rookie minicamp last week.

Free agent rookie wide receiver Rodelin Anthony is a big man (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) who could create matchup problems for opponents.

Cincinnati Bengals

The battle between Dave Rayner and Mike Nugent for kicking duties is heating up.

Cleveland Browns

Browns legend Jim Brown is staying mum about the team taking away his "executive adviser" title.

The Browns have accumulated depth at cornerback and linebacker, a luxury the team didn't have at the start of last season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The team released long-snapper Jared Retkofsky.

Scott Brown of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review looks at the four former Steelers -- Larry Foote, Antwaan Randle El, Bryant McFadden and Byron Leftwich -- that the team either signed or traded for during the offseason.

Ben Roethlisberger has a long way to go in rehabilitating his image.

Steelers add WR Joey Galloway

December, 22, 2009
12/22/09
12:47
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Galloway
Galloway

The Pittsburgh Steelers made an interesting roster move Tuesday, signing 15-year veteran receiver Joey Galloway to a contract.

Pittsburgh showed interest in Galloway during the offseason but chose not to sign him. The Steelers made the move this week after receiver Limas Sweed was put on the reserve/non-football illness list.

Galloway is expected to provide the Steelers depth as the No. 4 receiver behind Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward and rookie Mike Wallace. Ward also has a hamstring injury this week. So it's possible Galloway could become the third receiver if Ward cannot play Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens (8-6).

The Steelers also added long-snapper Jared Retkofsky to replace the injured Greg Warren (knee).

Reed keeps on kicking for Steelers

November, 19, 2008
11/19/08
4:07
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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers kicker Jeff Reed has seen more curveballs in Pittsburgh than your typical Pirates slugger.

This season, Reed has had a change of long-snappers, following a knee injury to teammate Greg Warren.

 
  AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
 While his holders have rotated, Steelers kicker Jeff Reed has been a constant.

Reed's place-holders have been a rotating door among Daniel Sepulveda (injured), Paul Ernster (cut), Mitch Berger (cut) and Ernster (re-signed) again.

Add the fact that the field conditions in Heinz Field are getting uglier by the day and Pittsburgh's offense has sputtered, and it's amazing that Reed's kicking remains the one constant.

The seven-year veteran is quietly having the best season of his career for the 7-3 Steelers. In his most recent outing, Reed kicked through snowy conditions and made three clutch field goals during an 11-10 victory over the San Diego Chargers. He is 16-of-17 on field goals this year, and his percentage (94.1) is fourth in the NFL among kickers with at least 14 attempts.

Most fans simply watch Reed kick on game day but fail to understand the work needed to seamlessly make the transition to a new long-snapper (rookie Jared Retkofsky) and three different holders in one year.

"When you talk about adversity for a kicker," Reed said, "it doesn't get much more adverse than this."

Reed is accustomed to curveballs. He got first got a taste of the unpredictability that is the NFL during his rookie year in 2002.

Following a solid college career at the University of North Carolina, Reed went undrafted and was unable to land on an NFL roster. So the Charlotte native went back to the Tar Heel state to work on a dairy farm cleaning debris.

"Everyone thinks I was a farmer, which is not true," Reed said, smiling. "I was just working on a farm for a friend who was actually a true farmer."

Reed then took the winding path to Pittsburgh.

An injury to former Steelers kicker Todd Peterson earned Reed a tryout for the Steelers in November 2002. Pittsburgh was the seventh team Reed tried out for that year.

It was a typical winter mosh pit at Heinz Field when Reed joined three other kickers to try out. Through sleet and approximately 30-degree weather, Reed had perhaps his worst kicking display before an NFL team.

"It was cool to get a tryout but you're thinking, 'Man, why couldn't it be a different day?'" Reed said. "We all kicked about equally. ...We all missed some that we should have made and were slipping all over the place."

Reed admits that none of the kickers were impressive enough to earn the job, but he got the nod that day. Reed said former Steelers coach Bill Cowher still jokes with him occasionally, saying he has no idea why he chose the rookie kicker six years ago.

But Cowher's intuition is still paying dividends. Reed has a career 83-percent success rate on field goals, despite kicking half his games at home on arguably the toughest surface in the NFL. The past two years Reed has made 39 of 42 field-goal attempts (92.8 percent) for Pittsburgh.

Some kickers can be outcasts in their locker rooms, but Reed is not one of them. When he arrived six years ago, teammates and coaches didn't know his name. Now he's a fan favorite. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger often praises Reed, saying earlier this year that he has "the utmost confidence in him." Reed also was chosen to be a captain this year by his peers.

Without a doubt, it has been a long road for the Steelers' kicker who, after college, was working on the farm for $12 per hour.

But in a blue-collar town like Pittsburgh, Reed is an ideal fit.

"It would be great to be a first-round pick ... but I kind of like it better when you have to earn what you got," Reed said. "Coach Cowher's saying was 'It's hard to get there, but it's harder to stay.' If that's not reality, then I don't know what is."

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

LANDOVER, Md. -- Although it may not be a big deal nationally, those in the Steel City will be keeping a close eye on new Pittsburgh Steelers long snapper Jared Retkofsky.

Long-snapping issues hurt Pittsburgh in last week's loss to the New York Giants. Greg Warren suffered a torn ACL and linebacker James Harrison attempted to fill in but delivered a high snap that resulted in a safety.

Retkofsky was signed as a free agent last week and had ample time to get acclimated. But it's difficult to predict how any new player will respond to a hostile environment. His first snap on a punt was fine in the first quarter.

If this is the last time I mention Retkosky's name, Steelers fans probably will be satisfied with his first game.

Steelers sign long snapper

October, 28, 2008
10/28/08
4:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

And his name is Jared Retkofsky, who spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers in training camp in 2007. Retkofsky was an undrafted free agent from TCU.

To make room for the move, the Steelers put long snapper Greg Warren on injured reserve. Warren tore the ACL in his left knee during Pittsburgh's 21-14 loss to the New York Giants this past Sunday.

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