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Steelers cut draft picks Blanchflower, Richardson

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) evades pressure by Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) in the second quarter of a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar) Photo: Gene Puskar

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) evades pressure by Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) in the second quarter of a NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) Landry Jones is keeping his job.

The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to keep the third-string quarterback on Saturday despite a lackluster preseason from the former Oklahoma star.

Jones failed to produce a battle with veteran Bruce Gradkowski for the backup spot behind Ben Roethlisberger but the team opted to keep Jones around for another season to see if he develops.

Jones believed he improved this summer after struggling as a rookie during the preseason a year ago. He completed 27 of 44 passes for 224 yards and an interception during Pittsburgh's uneven 1-3 exhibition season. He failed to produce any points while seeing extended time in a 10-0 loss to Carolina on Thursday.

Still, he survived when the Steelers sliced the roster to 53 players just before the deadline, giving him another season to serve as the scout team quarterback and gain experience he believes will help him down the road, be it in Pittsburgh or elsewhere.

Pittsburgh also held on to wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey. The former first-round pick signed with the Steelers in March and dealt with concussion-like symptoms early in training camp, but appeared to get better as the weeks wore on. He finished with a team-high nine receptions during the preseason and was a willing blocker on special teams.

Heyward-Bey and second-year wide receiver Justin Brown survived cut day while former Penn State wideout Derek Moye - who played in eight games for the Steelers last year - did not.

Linebacker Chris Carter and veteran offensive lineman Guy Whimper were also released.

Pittsburgh kept eight linebackers, including former third-round pick Sean Spence, who completed his remarkable recovery from a career-threatening knee injury two years ago by easily making the roster.

Pittsburgh cut a pair of rookie draft picks who struggled staying healthy. Cornerback Shaquille Richardson, a fifth-round selection, spent most of camp dealing with a knee injury.

Tight end Rob Blanchflower, a seventh-round choice, had issues with a sprained ankle that hampered his development.

Second-year defensive lineman Nick Williams was let go. So was undrafted rookie free agent linebacker Howard Jones. Jones returned a fumble for a touchdown in the preseason opener against the New York Giants and recovered another to set up the game-winning field goal against Buffalo.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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