Steelers waive P Zoltan Mesko

PITTSBURGH –- What became apparent after Mike Tomlin did not give Zoltan Mesko a vote of confidence at his weekly news conference became official late Tuesday afternoon.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made another change at punter, waiving Mesko and signing veteran Mat McBriar. The move comes less than a week before Mesko would have returned to New England, where he punted the previous three seasons. The Steelers (2-5) visit the Patriots (6-2) on Sunday.

The Patriots waived Mesko, a fifth-round draft pick in 2010, in late August, and the Steelers signed him because they weren't satisfied with Drew Butler and Brian Moorman, who had battled for the job during training camp.

Mesko ranked near the bottom of the NFL with a 42.5 punting average, and his inconsistency led the Steelers to go in another direction.

Tomlin said last week that Mesko needed to eliminate the "junior varsity" punt he had in previous games. The seventh-year coach gave Mesko an earful last Sunday after a 30-yard punt in a 21-18 loss at Oakland.

Mesko also bobbled a snap that led to a partially blocked punt and a Raiders touchdown.

McBriar is a 10-year veteran who spent eight seasons with Dallas. The Australian native made the Pro Bowl in 2006 and 2010, and he has career punting averages of 45.4 yards and 38.0 net yards.

McBriar is also expected to assume holding duties for kicker Shaun Suisham, who missed two fields goals inside 35 yards against the Raiders.