In a surprising move on Saturday, the Steelers announced they released backup QB Byron Leftwich and activated DE Steve McLendon from the practice squad.
According to the Steelers' Twitter account, "SteelersDigest," Leftwich should be re-signed next week and this move was "done for D-line depth."
Leftwich (knee) participated fully in practice on Friday but was still slated to back up starting QB Dennis Dixon. QB Ben Roethlisberger will return for Week Six when the Steelers play the Browns.
The way we see it
The Steelers' defensive line issue is that they are without starting NT Casey Hampton for the Week Two game against the Titans, but this move more importantly means that head coach Mike Tomlin trusts Charlie Batch as the backup to Dixon. Batch, a 13-year veteran, has 50 career starts under his belt, but just four with the Steelers since 2003. It's possible that Leftwich could start in Week Three after returning to practice this week, but the Steelers wanted his roster spot for D-line depth for Sunday's game. Of course, the Steelers are gambling that another team in need of a quarterback won't swoop in and make Leftwich an attractive offer, unless they've privately come to an agreement with the veteran that he won't depart.