- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Bears released Podlesh in March prior to the start of free agency after the seven-year NFL veteran averaged 40.6 yards per punt, with a 37.9-yard net average in 2013.
Podlesh, who signed a five-year, $10 million contract with $3.5 million guaranteed with the Bears on July 30, 2011, was scheduled to count $1.825 million against Chicago’s salary cap in 2014 before team decided to cut ties with the punter.
Podlesh’s best season in Chicago came in 2011 when he set the Bears’ single-season record in net punting average (40.4). His 42.4 yards career gross punt average ranks second in team history.
The 30-year-old Podlesh spent his first four years in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that selected him in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL draft.
Podlesh and second-year kicker Brad Wing are the only two punters listed on the Steelers’ official offseason roster.
Former Pittsburgh punter Drew Butler will have an opportunity to replace Podlesh in Chicago, if he wins the Bears’ starting job in the preseason.