Steelers Free Agent Spotlight: Specialists


Aug 19, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; A view of the NFL Heads Up logo on the helmet of Pittsburgh Steelers long snapper Greg Warren (60) prior to the Steelers game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In this edition of the free agent spotlights we’re going to combine the two free agent specialists on the Steelers roster: Punter Mat McBriar and Long Snapper Greg Warren. McBriar signed with the Steelers in late October of 2013 after a disastrous start punting-wise for Special Teams. On the other hand, Greg Warren has been a mainstay on the Special Teams’ roster since 2005. Both will be unrestricted free agents on March 11th.

Mat McBriar is an Australian-born player who was signed by the Denver Broncos in 2003 as an undrafted free agent. He spent some time on the Broncos and Seahawks roster before the regular season kicked off in 2003 and eventually made his way to Dallas late in the season. He spent eight seasons with the Cowboys before Philadelphia picked him up in 2012 and then released him in 2013. In October of 2013 he became the Steelers’ fifth punter in their previous three seasons after cutting Zoltan Mesko, whom they had signed in early September of 2013. Mesko was most known for his “junior varsity” punts. McBriar has a career average of 38.1 yards with five blocked punts and three returned for touchdowns.

When you think of stability, the long snapper position for the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly comes to mind and that’s because Greg Warren has become just about as dependable as one can be as a specialist. He was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in 2005 out of North Carolina and has been the long snapper for the team ever since, except for the 2008 season when he sustained a season-ending knee injury in an October game against the New York Giants. He also had a shortened 2009 season when he tore his ACL in Week 14 and went on Injured Reserve for the remainder of that season.

Not much excitement here when you’re talking about the specialists positions. The Steelers need to do more than find just a capable punter; it would do them good to have some stability in that area. I don’t know if that says that McBriar is likely to be re-signed or not, I don’t know if it hurts that much to start over in the punter search if it means they can ultimately end up with a consistent punter for the foreseeable future. As far as Greg Warren goes I think this is definitely a “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” situation. If Warren is still healthy and can play, re-sign him, it’s that simple.

What are your thoughts, Steeler Nation? Do you see the Steelers searching for a new punter this offseason? Do you think Greg Warren remains the long snapper for years to come?

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