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02-26-2010, 05:08 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

With nose tackle Casey Hampton and kicker Jeff Reed in the fold, the Steelers turn their full attention to safety Ryan Clark with the clock counting down until he can become an unrestricted free agent.

Clark, 30, has been the team's starting free safety the past four seasons after they signed him as a UFA from the Washington Redskins. The Steelers passed on the opportunity to use either the franchise or transition tag on Clark, using the franchise on Reed and not deploying the transition available to them.

Clark would have cost them $6 million to transition and $6,455,000 to franchise and they considered that far too much to pay, especially with strong safety Troy Polamalu the second-highest paid safety in the league at $6,495,000 last season.

The two sides are nowhere close to coming to a contract agreement but Reed's agent believes they still can get something done over the next week.

"They've paid plenty of other players a lot more than we're asking for," agent Joel Turner said. "It's not a situation where Ryan is asking for too much money. We're not asking for more than most people would. Keep in mind, Ryan is the best free safety not only in unrestricted free agency but restricted free agency. He's the best free safety in the business."

The Steelers, though, are prepared to replace Clark with Ryan Mundy, who will enter his third season, if they cannot come to terms on a new contract. Mundy, a sixth-round draft choice in 2006, played in a backup role last season after spending part of his rookie year on their practice squad.

"They have an opportunity to keep a guy like Ryan the next four or five years and I don't see how they can't," Turner said. "There's not a rookie out there who can come in and be close to him."

The Steelers signed Hampton, 33, to a three-year, $21.3 million contract with a $6.5 million signing bonus. Reed will earn $2,814,000 as their franchise player in 2010, although they will continue to try to come to terms on a multi-year deal.


—Two Steelers will be inducted into their respective college athletic halls of fame Saturday. Linebacker James Harrison will be honored by Kent State and quarterback Charlie Batch will be inducted by Eastern Michigan University.

—Longtime Steelers scout Bill Nunn was part of the 11-man inaugural class enshrined into the Black College Football Hall of Fame last Saturday in Atlanta. Nunn, 84, was instrumental first as a journalist and then a scout in recognizing football players at the small black schools starting in the 1960s when he was sports editor of the prominent Pittsburgh Courier newspaper. He picked a black All-American team for the paper before he was hired as a scout for the Steelers in the late 1960s.

Others inducted with him last Saturday were players Buck Buchanan of Grambling, Willie Galimore of Florida A&M, Deacon Jones of South Carolina State, Willie Lanier of Morgan State, Walter Payton of Jackson State, Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State, Ben Stevenson of Tuskegee and Tank Younger of Grambling, and coaches Eddie Robinson of Grambling and Jake Gaither of Florida A&M.

—Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has two years left on his first contract, typically a time when the Steelers negotiate an extension.

"I don't like to speculate on what we're going to do with the coach," team president Art Rooney II said, "but let's just say we certainly hope and believe Mike's going to be here for the long term and we'll deal with contract situations as they come up."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not as deep as it has been obviously because there's a lot of players that are now restricted free agents that would have been unrestricted. It's a much deeper restricted free agent market than it's ever been." — Steelers boss Kevin Colbert on free-agent class.



First up for the Steelers is to sign a couple of impending unrestricted free agents. The only UFAs they will try to sign before March 5 are Pro Bowl nose tackle Casey Hampton, starting free safety Ryan Clark and kicker Jeff Reed. Reed will be their first priority. If they cannot sign Hampton to a multiple-year deal, they could franchise him. Clark will not be franchised or transitioned and is unlikely to come to terms by March 5.

Two veterans will not get offers before March 5, although the team might be interested in them if they do not get good offers elsewhere. Halfback Willie Parker and cornerback Deshea Townsend have been important members of two Super Bowl champions but they no longer are starters and would have to return as backups.

Starting right tackle Willie Colon will stay a RFA if there is no new CBA and they will issue him a high tender, as they did last season when he first became a RFA.


1. Offensive line: One reason the Steelers cannot run when they want is the blocking. They get no push from their front line. They have to develop a tackle at the very least and need to find their future centers.

2. Defensive line: They addressed this last year with DE Ziggy Hood in the first round, but they need to restock a line that has grown old. Another end and nose tackle are a must.

3. Defensive backs: With FS Ryan Clark likely leaving as a free agent, they have no one to replace him. Their CBs are below average as well.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER: PK Jeff Reed (tendered at $2.814M).



—QB Charlie Batch is a reliable backup when healthy, and that is the issue because he missed all of 2008 and ended 2009 with a broken wrist. He wants to return.

—LB Rocky Boiman was a late edition to try to save their drowning special teams. He's not likely to return.

—SS Tyrone Carter won't get a contract from the Steelers again unless he finds nothing from anywhere else.

—FS Ryan Clark would like to return and the team wants him back, but they are not likely to settle on a price before free agency begins.

—DE Nick Eason, if he's willing to return at a minimum salary, could re-sign.

—WR Joey Galloway was a late signing after Limas Sweed was placed on injured reserve. He did not dress for either game and he is not likely to be invited back.

—DE Travis Kirschke, although he turns 36 this year, has been dependable and could re-sign if he does not go elsewhere, especially if they get nothing at the position in the draft.

—RB Willie Parker has seen his last days in Pittsburgh. They would love to have him back as a backup to Rashard Mendenhall but he wants more playing time than that.

—CB Deshea Townsend thinks he can still start in the league and the Steelers have no plans for him to do that. If he finds nothing of his liking in free agency, they will offer him a contract to return.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (*indicates restricted because of uncapped year)

—*OT Willie Colon will be tendered at the highest amount, as he was last season, his third as their starting right tackle.

—RB Carey Davis is listed as their starting fullback but rarely played and may not receive a tender.

—CB William Gay had a disappointing first season as a starter but not bad enough that they want to lose him.

—P Daniel Sepulveda was middle of the road and not likely to receive a high tender. He was drafted in the fourth round.

—TE Matt Spaeth is No. 2 behind Heath Miller. He plays a lot but rarely is used as a target and he's not a good blocker.

—OG Darnell Stapleton was their starting right guard until an injury put him on injured reserve. He could receive a lower tender.


—LB Patrick Bailey was their rookie of the year for his special-teams play in 2008, but dropped off last season.


—NT Casey Hampton: Potential UFA; $21.3M/3 yrs, $11M guaranteed/$6.5M SB.


—LB Derrick Doggett: CFL FA; terms unknown.


02-26-2010, 05:59 PM
Pretty sure that Doggett got a future contract like all of our camp bodies.

02-26-2010, 08:48 PM
Clark was not hitting hard in the second half of the season.

02-26-2010, 10:58 PM
Clark seemed to have lost a step or 2.....

02-26-2010, 11:11 PM
He's the best free safety in the business."
:toofunny: ..... i'm pretty sure ed reed might be inclined to disagree ..... i'm not even sure i'd put clark in the top 12. :noidea:

Northside Jonny
02-26-2010, 11:23 PM
:toofunny: ..... i'm pretty sure ed reed might be inclined to disagree ..... i'm not even sure i'd put clark in the top 12. :noidea:

It's so easy to disagree when you never back up your posts with factual evidence Fagster of Puppets!

02-27-2010, 01:09 AM
:toofunny: ..... i'm pretty sure ed reed might be inclined to disagree ..... i'm not even sure i'd put clark in the top 12. :noidea:

LOL his Agent isn't going to say he's not the best. I would want an Agent who believes in me.

Galax Steeler
02-27-2010, 05:17 AM
He did not seem to play as well without Troy back there. Seemed to play out of position or something it just wasn't right for him last year.