In a strange move, the Steelers have released tight end Weslye Saunders. Saunders had just finished serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy (it was for using adderall, he said), and he was on a roster exemption. The Steelers needed to clear space for him on the roster, and it was widely expected that they would cut fellow tight end Leonard Pope, who is older than Saunders and who has played very little recently. Saunders' release comes out of nowhere, as Chris Adamski indicates:
Weslye Saunders was asked Mon if he might be the 1 who'd get cut-He & everyone else laughed.The very idea was a joke to him & us 3 reporters
This might not be a season-altering move, but it's a very strange one. Saunders was signed as an undrafted free agent last year, but he appeared to have upside. He would seem to be a much better use of a roster spot than Pope. Saunders has a history of off-field issues -- in addition to the drug violation, he was kicked off the University of South Carolina football team for violating team rules. There may be something going on here that we're not yet aware of.
The Steelers can't place Saunders on the practice squad.
This move would appear to be good news for 2012 seventh-round pick and former Oregon tight end David Paulson, who the Steelers might prefer to Saunders.