AFC North: Jeremy Kapinos

Click here for the complete list of Pittsburgh Steelers' roster moves.

Most significant move: The Steelers are going with undrafted rookie Drew Butler (son of former NFL kicker Kevin Butler) as their punter. Injuries essentially forced this move. Pittsburgh parted ways with Daniel Sepulveda in the offseason because he couldn't stay healthy and waived Jeremy Kapinos on Friday after a back issue sidelined him this summer. Butler averaged 45.9 yards a punt this preseason and placed six of his 28 punts inside the 20-yard line. The other noteworthy move was keeping Charlie Batch, who was not expected to see his 11th season with Pittsburgh after Byron Leftwich won the backup job. The Steelers decided to keep three quarterbacks and just four wide receivers. Chris Rainey, who has lined up in the slot this preseason, is a hybrid running back-receiver.

Onward and upward: Pittsburgh should have no problem signing David Gilreath to the practice squad. If the Steelers went with a fifth receiver, it would have been Gilreath. He separated himself from an undistinguished group of reserve receivers with four catches for 78 yards in the second preseason game. The other benefit of keeping Gilreath is his ability as a returner. He led Wisconsin in punt and kickoff returns two years ago and could be promoted if Rainey got injured. Receivers Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders can return kicks as well.

What's next: The Steelers may address depth at inside linebacker after placing rookie third-round pick Sean Spence on injured reserve Friday. With Stevenson Sylvester out for a couple of weeks with a torn MCL, Pittsburgh is down to former Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson as the top backup inside. The Steelers could bring back Trai Essex, after cutting the eight-year veteran Friday, when they place first-round pick David DeCastro on injured reserve Tuesday, allowing the team to activate DeCastro after eight weeks under the new IR rule. Pittsburgh is expected to waive rookie tight end David Paulson after Weslye Saunders serves his four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
With right guard David DeCastro out indefinitely, there will be minimal impact felt from the Steelers' 2012 draft class this season. DeCastro, the team's first-round pick, was the only guaranteed starter from Pittsburgh's most recent draft.

Offensive tackle Mike Adams, the second-round pick, is in the running for the starting left tackle job. But it wasn't an encouraging sign when the Steelers started Max Starks at left tackle Saturday night.

The player from this draft class who has the best chance of changing games is running back Chris Rainey, a fifth-round pick. He's displayed electric speed this preseason, scoring on a 41-yard run and a 57-yard catch.

Inside linebacker Sean Spence (third round) will be a key contributor on special teams and could see time on the starting defense if there is an injury to Lawrence Timmons or Larry Foote. Nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu (fourth round) has struggled at times and likely will be among the team's inactives every week. Pittsburgh's four seventh-round picks (wide receiver Toney Clemons, tight end David Paulson, cornerback Terrence Frederick and guard Kelvin Beachum) are long shots to make the team.

This isn't to say there won't be a rookie starting for the Steelers this year. Will Johnson, who was out of football last year, is expected to be the Steelers' starting fullback, and Drew Butler, an undrafted rookie, has punted well enough to earn a spot. But the Steelers have to determine whether they'll go with Butler or Jeremy Kapinos, who still hasn't punted this preseason because of issues with his back.

The Steelers had only one rookie starter from the 2011 draft class (right tackle Marcus Gilbert) and one in 2010 (center Maurkice Pouncey).
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers put often-injured punter Daniel Sepulveda on injured reserve Saturday after he was injured in practice. Jeremy Kapinos was signed for the second time in two seasons.

This could factor into the field-position battle tonight. Supulveda, who beat out Kapinos in training camp, was netting 40.6 yards on punts this season. Kapinos had a 32.3-yard net average in four games for Pittsburgh last season.

In last season's playoff game against Baltimore, it was Kapinos who out-kicked his coverage and allowed Lardarius Webb to score on a 56-yard return. But that touchdown was negated by a holding penalty on the Ravens' Marcus Smith.

Webb ranks 24th in the league with an 8-yard punt return average this season.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Punter Jeremy Kapinos is the only Pittsburgh Steeler who played for the Green Bay Packers last season.

Kapinos
Kapinos
But you would hardly know it this week, because Kapinos has little interest in discussing his former team.

"I think with the Packers, the past is obviously the past," Kapinos said Wednesday. "I'm just more excited to be with the Steelers now."

Kapinos was with Green Bay in 2008 and 2009 and punted a total of 20 games for the Packers. He subbed in during four games in 2008 and won the job full-time in 2009. Kapinos was then let go and served a one-week stint with the Indianapolis Colts this season.

But Kapinos says his heart is with the Steelers. He took advantage of an opportunity when Daniel Sepulveda suffered a season-ending knee injury and punted for Pittsburgh the past six games, including playoffs.

As luck would have it, Kapinos is now happy to punt in the Super Bowl for the Steelers, a team he's watched closely since college.

"I think the emotion falls more with the fact that this is the Steelers," Kapinos said. "I went to school at Penn State, and the proximity is what it is. A lot of my friends are Steelers fans so we always watched more Steelers games. That means more than anything."

Steelers sign a punter

December, 7, 2010
12/07/10
12:43
PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed third-year punter Jeremy Kapinos, the team announced Tuesday. Kapinos will replace the injured Daniel Sepulveda, who was put on injured reserve with a torn ACL.

Kapinos punted for the Green Bay Packers last season and briefly this year with the Indianapolis Colts. He beat out Ricky Schmitt in a tryout with the Steelers on Monday.

Morning take: Who punts for Steelers?

December, 7, 2010
12/07/10
7:00
AM ET
Here are the most interesting stories Tuesday in the AFC North: Morning take: The Steelers have changed a new kicker and punter this season. Yet they continue to plug along with a 9-3 record.
Morning take: The hit looked unintentional, but the fine is in line with the way the NFL is protecting its quarterbacks. Roethlisberger also had surgery to fix his broken nose.
Morning take: Delhomme was really lucky a fourth-quarter pass was dropped by Miami defensive back Nolan Carroll. That could have been the difference for the Dolphins.
Morning take: Scott is a young player who makes things happen. With nothing left to play for, Cincinnati should give Scott more touches on offense.

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