PITTSBURGH – The Steelers have released tight end Matt Spaeth with the designation of Failed Physical, the team announced today.
"Matt never fully recovered from knee surgery that occurred this past offseason, and he will not be ready to return to football activities at this time," said General Manager Kevin Colbert. "Matt played an integral role in our Super Bowl XLIII Championship run, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors."
Spaeth was drafted by the Steelers in the third round (77th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. In 123 regular-season games, Spaeth totaled 55 receptions for 420 yards with 10 receiving touchdowns. He was a member of the Steelers' Super Bowl XLIII Championship team.
To take Spaeth's spot on the 90-man roster, the Steelers signed rookie free agent tight end Mandel Dixon, listed as 6-foot-2, 231 pounds during his final season at Tulsa. Dixon was undrafted in 2016 and then a tryout participant for the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp.
Following this move and the earlier retirement of Heath Miller, the Steelers will be without two of the three tight ends who were on the roster for the AFC Divisional Round Game in Denver last January. The only returning tight end is Jesse James, a second-year pro who was a fifth-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
During the offseason, the Steelers signed Ladarius Green as an unrestricted free agent, and they brought back David Johnson after he was released by the San Diego Chargers. Xavier Grimble, who was signed to the Steelers' practice squad on Sept. 7, 2015 and spend the season there, also qualifies as a player with some experience with the team. Paul Lang, a sixth tight end on the current roster, was signed on June 7.