PITTSBURGH -- Veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos were among the 21 players cut by the Steelers Friday as the team settled on a 53-man roster.
The team also placed rookie linebacker Sean Spence on the injured reserve after tearing ligaments in his left knee in Thursday night's preseason finale against Carolina.
Essex played 76 games over seven seasons with Pittsburgh, including 28 starts. Kapinos, who split punting duties with Daniel Sepulveda the last two seasons, was bothered by a lingering back injury during training camp and did not punt in any of the team's four exhibition games.
The Steelers also cut quarterback Jerrod Johnson and kept backup Charlie Batch, assuring him of a 15th NFL season.
Pittsburgh opens the season in Denver on Sept. 9.