Spaeth eligible to be placed on IR-Designated-to-Return list at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday

Marc Serota

Steelers TE Matt Spaeth will likely be placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list today, which will free up a roster spot. The Steelers' recent moves indicate they're looking to bolster their special teams units. Will they bring in someone else to cover kicks?

The Steelers have a decision to make on tight end Matt Spaeth, and the foot injury that's sidelined him the last few weeks.

He's still on the roster, but as of 4 p.m. ET today, the Steelers can place Spaeth on the injured reserve/designated to return list. That would enable him to return to the field before the Steelers' Week 7 game against the Baltimore Ravens. He can return to practice that week, and the team has 21 days from when he begins practice to either place him on the active roster (and release a player if they're at the 53-man roster limit) or place him on the IR.

It's still possible they place him straight on injured reserve, but it seems more likely he will be designated to return.

The Steelers kept five tight ends on their roster - Spaeth, Heath Miller, David Paulson, David Johnson and Michael Palmer. A decision will be made on Spaeth today and Miller is on the active roster but won't play in Week 1.

It would seem the Steelers would have an extra roster spot in the event Spaeth is designated to return. Which direction they go with that spot is anyone's guess, but some possibilities would be signing linebacker Marshall McFadden off Oakland's practice squad - depending on how the team felt of his special teams' contributions, which may not be much, considering they released him in the first place.

They released cornerback Isaiah Green and signed special teams ace Antwon Blake Monday, signifying a more concentrated effort on their kick coverage teams.

Perhaps they feel they can still make an upgrade at tight end. Palmer has basically no NFL experience, and neither Paulson nor Johnson have starting experience on the strong side - where Miller has been since 2006.

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