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Old 03-15-2008, 07:11 AM   #1
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Default Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams
By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, March 15, 2008

Buzz up!


The Steelers continue to address coach Mike Tomlin's promise to improve their special teams. They signed running back Mewelde Moore, who also returns punts, along with linebacker Keyaron Fox, another special teams standout.
On Friday, the Steelers met with free-agent safety Donnie Nickey, a top special teams performer with the Tennessee Titans.

The Steelers also entertained free-agent offensive lineman Justin Hartwig, who started 15 games at center for the Carolina Panthers in 2007. Earlier in the week, the Steelers missed out on free-agent offensive lineman Rex Hadnot, who signed with Cleveland.

Nickey, 27, has six career starts in five seasons.

"We're looking at an opportunity where Donnie gets to not only continue to showcase what he has to offer on special teams, but also have a chance to play on defense,'' said Jeffrey Chilcoat, who represents Nickey. "Among most of the coaches Donnie is thought of as a terrific special teams player. I would assume that factors heavily in their thought process to help shore up special teams.''
Nickey, an Akron native who attended Ohio State, is probably best known for his altercation with quarterback Vince Young during Tennessee's 2007 training camp.

Young took exception to a hit Nickey delivered to tight end Courtney Roby. When Nickey put his hand on Young's chest, Young threw a punch that glanced off Nickey's helmet.

"I do know (Tennessee) wants him back. But I think Donnie's pretty open at this point,'' Chilcoat said.

The Steelers are also trying to upgrade their offensive line.

Hartwig, 29, signed a five-year, $17 million free-agent contract two years ago. He was released Tuesday after declining Carolina's offer to switch to starting guard because it would have forced him to play out of position.

Hartwig, Tennessee's sixth-round draft pick in 2002, would more than likely offer the Steelers depth behind starting center Sean Mahan, or he could push Mahan for playing time.

Note: Steelers coach Mike Tomlin will speak to graduates during the College of William and Mary's commencement on May 11. Tomlin, a 1995 W&M grad, will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters during the ceremony.
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Old 03-15-2008, 07:43 AM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

I wonder how much of an upgrade Nickey would be on ST's and what he would cost us. It looks like the 6 games he started was back in 2004.

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Hartwig, Tennessee's sixth-round draft pick in 2002, would more than likely offer the Steelers depth behind starting center Sean Mahan, or he could push Mahan for playing time.
More "depth" at center. Just what we need.......
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:31 AM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

wowee we actually signed some people this year!!
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Old 03-15-2008, 09:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

If hartwig signs he needs to start, if not it is pointless to give $2mill or more a year to a backup when we could draft a guy in the later rounds to do the same work.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

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Originally Posted by lamberts-lost-tooth View Post
Hartwig, Tennessee's sixth-round draft pick in 2002, would more than likely offer the Steelers depth behind starting center Sean Mahan, or he could push Mahan for playing time.
haha.. yeah right. if he is signed, he is the starter.. unless of course darnell stapleton plays like mike webster in pre season.
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Old 03-15-2008, 11:42 PM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

its to much money not to start
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Old 03-16-2008, 06:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

That would actually be pretty good going into next year with some good special teams.
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Old 03-18-2008, 05:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

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Originally Posted by GBMelBlount View Post
I wonder how much of an upgrade Nickey would be on ST's and what he would cost us. It looks like the 6 games he started was back in 2004.



More "depth" at center. Just what we need.......
I would definitely not see this signing of Hartwig as a backup myself..
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:18 AM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

So now we have a Linebacker to tackle on STs, and a new Center, and a 3rd or 4th running back to our depth.

They are doing great in the off season, doing just enough to fix the holes from last year.

Now...draft me Felix Jones and I'll have my perfect off season!!!

Oh, and sign Matt Jones when he gets cut from the Jags camp this year.
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Old 03-19-2008, 11:27 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers using free agency to shore up special teams

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Originally Posted by Dino 5 Rings View Post
So now we have a Linebacker to tackle on STs, and a new Center, and a 3rd or 4th running back to our depth.

They are doing great in the off season, doing just enough to fix the holes from last year.

Now...draft me Felix Jones and I'll have my perfect off season!!!

Oh, and sign Matt Jones when he gets cut from the Jags camp this year.
Matt Jones the wide out or is he the full back?
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