Bruener, coming off radical microfracture knee surgery, agreed to accept a one-year deal that's reportedly close to $1 million less than the $2,050,000 Bruener had been due this season. It gives the team nearly $2 million in open cap space with which to sign draft picks Troy Polamalu, Alonzo Jackson and Brian St. Pierre.
The Steelers' starting tight end since being chosen in the first round of the 1995 draft, Bruener underwent surgery last December and missed the final six games of the season.
Microfracture surgery involves the drilling of small holes in bone to promote suitable cartilage replacement through blood congealment. Players such as Dan Marino, Rod Woodson and Bruce Smith have had their careers prolonged by the procedure, while others such as Chuck Smith, Eric Swann, Andre Wadsworth, Jason Sehorn, Dan Neil, Dusty Ziegler and Patrick Jeffers have either retired or returned to play in a minimal capacity. Reviews are mixed on the post-surgery performance of Kevin Hardy, while teams are currently in the process of replacing microfracture rehabilitators DeShaun Foster, Tony Brackens and Courtney Brown. The Steelers signed tight end Jay Riemersma to a three-year, $3.9 million deal in March.
TE Mark Bruener agrees to renegotiate his contract
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