Steelers sticking with kicker Chris Boswell despite struggles

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are sticking with kicker Chris Boswell for Sunday's matchup with the New England Patriots, according to a source.

The Steelers kept veteran kicker Kai Forbath in town overnight after his Wednesday tryout, but Boswell performed well during Thursday's practice.

Boswell has missed 11 kicks on the season -- he's 10-of-16 on field goals, 39-of-44 on extra points -- including two key misses in Sunday's loss to Oakland. Boswell slipped on the Oakland Coliseum turf when approaching a 40-yarder in the final seconds.

But Boswell had been clutch since the team signed him off a tryout in 2015, including multiple game winners for last season's 13-3 team.

Center Maurkice Pouncey said the team hollering after Boswell's makes during Thursday's practice was a way of supporting a valued teammate. Boswell, 27, said this week he planned to regain his confidence by focusing on the work ahead.

"That's our guy. He won five games for us last year," Pouncey said. "We love him to death. We support the hell out of him. Ain't no point in bringing in a kicker who ain't playing for 15 weeks, we have no feelings, no ties to him. He goes out and misses a kick, we're pissed off at that point. Boswell's a brother. I could see if he's the only kicker missing in the league, but look around."

Coach Mike Tomlin said during the week that the Steelers (7-5-1) would hold kicking tryouts but Boswell would be a part of the evaluation.

Asked about Boswell's practice, special-teams coach Danny Smith reminded that Boswell is a Pro Bowl kicker. Quality kicking is the expectation.

In August, the Steelers signed Boswell to a five-year contract worth around $20 million, one of the richest in the league for kickers. The deal included a $6 million signing bonus, and cutting Boswell would count $4.8 million in dead money starting next season. From 2015 through 2017, Boswell made 85 of 95 field goal attempts and was 99-of-102 on extra points.