A look at Steelers free agents

Their 2011 season now over, the Steelers turn their attentions to the offseason, and one of the first things on the docket is free agency. The Steelers go into the offseason with 11 unrestricted free agents, seven restricted free agents and three exclusive rights free agents.

The following is a complete breakdown of the team's free agents.


Charlie Batch: In his 14th NFL season, Batch, 37, played in four games in 2011 – as a reserve role against Seattle, Cincinnati and Cleveland, and as a started vs. the St. Louis Rams. In his lone start, Batch completed 15 of 22 passes for 208 yards and one interception. Batch has been with the Steelers since 2002.

Dennis Dixon: Dixon will be entering his fifth season with the Steelers and didn't see any playing time in 2011. He has played in four games in his career, with three starts. He has completed 35 passes for 402 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his four seasons.

Byron Leftwich: Leftwich's 2011 season ended before it even got started when he fractured his arm against the Washington Redskins in the preseason. Leftwich, 31, spent the season rehabbing on a regular basis and attending meetings. Because he also spent the 2010 season on injured reserve, Leftwich's last regular season appearance for the Steelers came in 2008.

Mewelde Moore: Valued for his versatility, Moore, 29, had 11 receptions for 104 yards with a touchdown and carried the ball 22 times for 157 yards while playing in 12 games. He was sidelined for the final two regular season games and the playoffs with a knee injury.

Jerricho Cotchery: Cotchery, 29, signed a one-year contract with the Steelers on Aug. 11, a move seen at the time as providing the team with veteran depth. He finished 2011 with 16 receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns, plus one reception that went for a touchdown in the playoff loss to Denver.

Trai Essex: Because he has played all five positions in NFL games, Essex is the Steelers' most versatile offensive lineman. In his previous seasons here, Essex, 29, played both guard spots and both tackle spots, and in 2011 he filled in at center when Doug Legursky (who was starting for the injured Maurkice Pouncey) was injured against St. Louis. Essex re-signed with the team in August.

Max Starks: Unsigned when the 2011 season started, Starks was brought back on Oct. 5 and was quickly inserted into the lineup as the starting left tackle. Starks, who was a svelte 352 pounds when he signed, sustained an ACL injury in the playoff loss to Denver.

Chris Hoke: Hoke's season was cut short by a neck injury that required surgery and sent him to the injured reserve list on Dec. 8. He played in only six games this season, starting two of them for an injured Casey Hampton. In one of those starts, Hoke, 35, was a factor in helping to stabilize the team's run defense.

William Gay: His fifth NFL season was Gay's best yet. He took over for Bryant McFadden and started 15 games at left cornerback, and he recorded 56 tackles and two interceptions. Gay has not missed a game in his entire Steelers career.

Anthony Madison: The Steelers signed Madison, 30, prior to the Wild Card Playoff game against the Broncos for help on special teams. Madison had previously been with the Steelers as a special teams ace for a portion of five seasons from 2006-10.

Daniel Sepulveda: For the second year in a row, and three of the last four, Sepulveda was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. He was placed on IR on Nov. 5 after injuring his right knee. Sepulveda played in eight games this year with a net average of 39.1 yards.


David Johnson: Johnson started all 16 games in 2011, lining up as an extra tight end in the backfield. For the season, Johnson had 12 receptions for 91 yards, including a touchdown against the Tennessee Titans.

Mike Wallace: Wallace had 72 receptions for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in his second full season as a starter. Wallace, who averaged 16.6 yards a catch, had a 95-yard touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals. It was the longest pass play in Steelers history.

Ramon Foster: Foster stepped in Week 4 against the Houston Texans as the starting right guard for the injured Doug Legursky and never relinquished the spot. Foster originally signed with the team as an undrafted rookie in 2009. He has played in 41 games and started 26 during those three seasons.

Doug Legursky: Legursky opened the season as the starting right guard, moved to left guard where he started five games, and then filled in as the starting center for two games. He also started at center against the Broncos. Injures played a big role in his season, both his own that kept him out of the lineup, and those to his teammates that moved him around in the lineup.

Jamon Meredith: He signed with the Steelers on Sept. 13 when Willie Colon was placed on injured reserve. Meredith played in four games this year, mostly on special teams. He seeing was inactive for 10 games.

Keenan Lewis: In his third year, Lewis emerged as the No. 3 cornerback in most situational packages. Lewis played in all 16 games this year, with his only start coming against the Indianapolis Colts when the team opened the game with five defensive backs. Lewis finished with 31 tackles and one interception.

Ryan Mundy: Mundy played in all 16 regular season games and started at free safety against the Broncos with Ryan Clark sidelined. Mundy had 22 tackles and one interception in the regular season. He added four tackles against the Broncos. He was a core special teams player all year.


Isaac Redman: Redman is another player who rose to the challenge this year. Redman stepped in against Cleveland when Rashard Mendenhall went down and finished with 92 yards on 19 carries. He started the Wild Card Game against the Broncos and finished with 121 yards on 17 carries. For the season, Redman had 110 carries for 479 yards, a 4.4-yard average, and three touchdowns.

Steve McLendon: McLendon answered the call when asked to step up as the back-up at nose tackle after Chris Hoke was injured. He also stepped in and started against the Arizona Cardinals for Casey Hampton. McLendon finished the year with 11 tackles and one sack.

Jeremy Kapinos: The Steelers went back to Kapinos for the second straight year after Daniel Sepulveda was placed on injured reserve. Kapinos punted 34 times for a 38.3-yard net average in eight games. He had one touchback and 10 inside the 20-yard line. He punted four times in the postseason with two inside the 20-yard line.

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