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Steelers cut kicker Reed

Jeff Reed, who began the season as one of the 10 most accurate kickers in NFL history but has been erratic all season, was cut yesterday by the Pittsburgh Steelers and replaced by Shaun Suisham.

Suisham, who previously kicked for the Redskins and Cowboys, was signed immediately after working out at Heinz Field, where Reed blamed the slippery, unstable turf for his 26-yard miss against the Patriots on Sunday.

"It’s unlike other positions where you can simply bench someone and go to their backup," coach Mike Tomlin said. "There’s only one kicker on a football team, so you don’t make a decision lightly when you have to make a move. We’re very respectful of the cumulative body of work by Jeff here, but at this time we felt it was appropriate to make a change."

The Steelers won two Super Bowls with Reed, who was 8-for-8 during the 2005 and 2008 playoffs. He had one of his best seasons last year, going 27-for-31, but has struggled since missing twice during a 15-9, season-opening overtime victory over Atlanta. Reed has missed seven of 22 attempts overall.


Browns sign kick returner

A person familiar with the situation says the Cleveland Browns have agreed to contract terms with former Pro Bowl kick returner Clifton Smith.

Smith was released earlier this season by Miami, and worked out for the Browns yesterday.

The Browns need a kick returner after Pro Bowler Joshua Cribbs dislocated toes in Sunday’s loss to the New York Jets. Cribbs could be out for some time, leaving rookie Joe Haden as Cleveland’s primary returner.


Dolphins’ QB Henne absent

Quarterback Chad Henne is missing the Miami Dolphins’ only practice in preparation for tomorrow night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Also absent at the start of yesterday’s workout were safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) and center Joe Berger (knee). They were hurt in Sunday’s win over Tennessee, along with Henne, who injured his left knee.

Pro Bowl tackle Jake Long, nursing a shoulder injury, took part in the workout. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen practiced with the first team and is expected to make his first NFL start since 2008.


QB Troy Smith remains 49ers starter

San Francisco is 2-0 during the Troy Smith era, and coach Mike Singletary isn’t about to mess with a good thing.

Singletary said Monday that Smith will remain the team’s starting quarterback this week against Tampa Bay even though Alex Smith is healthy and cleared to play for the first time since separating his left shoulder Oct. 24

Meanwhile, offensive tackle Joe Staley will miss four to six weeks after suffering a fractured left fibula.


Panthers add QB St. Pierre

Unsure of Jimmy Clausen’s status because of a concussion, the Carolina Panthers have promoted quarterback Brian St. Pierre from the practice squad.

The Panthers made room on the 53-man roster yesterday by waiving running back Andre Brown.


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