Steelers get down to 53 Craig Thomas

The Steelers have placed rookie linebacker Sean Spence on their Reserve/Injured List and released 21 others, reducing their roster to the league-mandated 53 players, the team announced today.

Spence suffered a left knee injury in the Steelers’ preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers and will miss the 2012 season.

Two veterans that have spent time with the Steelers who were released today are offensive lineman Trai Essex and punter Jeremy Kapinos (Waived/Injured List). Essex has played in 76 career games for Pittsburgh (28 starts) while Kapinos has been the team’s punter for most of the past two seasons.

The other 19 players released include defensive backs Damon Cromartie-Smith, Terrence Frederick and Josh Victorian, linebackers Brandon Hicks and Marshall McFadden, defensive linemen Corbin Bryant, Igbinosun Ikponmwosa and Jake Stoller, quarterback Jerrod Johnson, running back DuJuan Harris, wide receivers Tyler Beiler, Toney Clemons, David Gilreath, Marquis Maze and Derrick Williams, and offensive linemen Ryan Lee, John Malecki and Chris Scott.