Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Weslye Saunders, who spent the first four games of the season on suspension, was released by the team on Friday.

Saunders, who started six games as a rookie for the Steelers in 2011, was forced to sit out Pittsburgh's initial four contests for a violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances. The club had a roster exemption for the former undrafted free agent in Week 6, which expired following Thursday's 26-23 loss at Tennessee.

The 23-year-old Saunders appeared in all 16 contests last season and recorded four catches totaling 29 yards with one touchdown.