Partial cuts are in

The Steelers released eight more players Saturday, moving closer to finalizing their 53-man roster for the beginning of the regular season.

The Steelers moved closer to finalizing their 2003 roster by releasing eight players today. Released Saturday were offensive tackle Josh Burr, guard/center Calvin Collins, guard/center Mike Cook, defensive end Jabari Issa, offensive lineman Jimond Pugh, wide receiver Brian Robinson, linebacker Terrence Robinson and safety Erik Totten.

The cuts leave the team with 59 players. The Steelers will need to trim six more players by 4 p.m. Sunday to reach the 53-man limit.

The biggest decisions remaining are at running back and in the defensive backfield.

The Steelers still have seven running backs on their roster, including rookies J.T. Wall and Donte Brown. Veteran Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala hs seen limited action in the preseason because of a hamstring injury and the team has shopped him around the league. The Detroit Lions are also rumored to have inquired about the availability of Jerome Bettis, who lost the starting job to Amos Zereoue.

In the defensive backfield, the release of Totten, who spent most of last season on the team's practice squad, leaves the Steelers with ten defensive backs - six cornerbacks and four safeties.

Veterans Hank Poteat and Chidi Iwuoma, and rookie Ike Taylor have been competing for the fourth and fifth cornerback spots, but the team could keep six cornerbacks.

Also surviving the cut were defensive linemen Chris Hoke and rookie David Upchurch, who are battling for what it likely one spot.

Wide receiver Khori Ivy also remained on the roster, but as the sixth wide receiver, will likely be cut Sunday and placed on the practice squad.

Dale Lolley

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