Bengals release Powell, make signings

December, 31, 2013
12/31/13
6:15
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Two days after horribly shanking a punt that traveled just 10 yards, punter Shawn Powell was released by the Cincinnati Bengals and replaced by a more veteran kicker.

Zoltan Mesko, a fourth-year player who was drafted by New England and most recently punted for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was signed Tuesday as the Bengals continue trying to adequately fill the spot that opened when Kevin Huber's season ended thanks to a broken jaw suffered three weeks ago against Pittsburgh. Two days after Huber's injury, Powell was added to the roster. The former Florida State All-American appeared in two games, most recently punting three times in Sunday's 34-17 win over the Ravens.

Two of Powell's punts landed inside the 20. One of them actually bounced once before being fielded by a member of the Bengals' coverage team and downed on the 1.

It was the third punt, though, that got Powell in trouble. As part of a third quarter that ultimately resulted in the Ravens rallying from a 17-9 deficit to tie the game at 17, Powell mishit one kick. On the fourth-and-12, the ball traveled just 10 yards before hooking left and drifting out of bounds over the Bengals sideline and into the first two rows of the stands. Before playing for Cincinnati, Powell had been out of work since the beginning of October, when he was waived by the Bills after allowing one punt return touchdown, and coming within a tackle of another.

While with the Steelers during the season's first seven games, Mesko averaged 42.5 yards on 34 punts with a net average of 36.7 yards. He had three punts inside the 20 and two touchbacks. He was released by Pittsburgh on Oct. 29.

Along with with Mesko's signing, the Bengals also added tight end Kevin Brock on Tuesday. He will fill the lone available roster spot that came open Monday when the Bengals placed tight end Alex Smith on injured reserve. Smith, who served as the No. 1 tight end in Sunday's game, dislocated a wrist against Baltimore. With him out, the Bengals are hoping Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert will be able to return ahead of Sunday's first-round AFC playoff game against San Diego. Both were inactive last weekend after suffering injuries the week before.

If Gresham is still bothered by his hamstring and Eifert is still dealing with the effects of a stinger, the Bengals would be down to Brock and H-back Orson Charles at the position.

Brock spent four games with Kansas City this year, catching three passes for 36 yards. He also played in two games with Buffalo during the 2011 season, catching two passes for 27 yards.

In addition to his signing and Mesko's, the Bengals also signed free agent kicker Quinn Sharp to a future contract. Signed as a reserve, the first-year player cannot work or count toward the active roster until the day following the Super Bowl. He was the third player signed to a Bengals future contract in two days. Sharp spent the preseason with Cincinnati, going 2-for-2 on field goals and 3-for-3 on point-after attempts before getting waived Aug. 26.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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