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Old 02-28-2009, 10:30 AM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default Steelers release Simmons, don't tender Smith

Steelers release Simmons, don't tender Smith
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February 27, 8:42 AM
by Matt Pawlikowski, Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

PITTSBURGH - Most of the Steeler moves were not shockers, but when it came to giving qualifying offers to its restricted free-agents there were a few.

The biggest may have been the release of guard Kendall Simmons, who had just recently signed a four-year contract extension just before the start of the 2007 season.

In an apparent move to make space on next years cap, and perhaps help in the James Harrison talks, Simmons was dropped from the team.Kendall Simmons will not return to the Steelers

Simmons (6-3, 315), one of the few players in the NFL with type I diabetes, played seven seasons with the Steelers after being drafted in the first round (30th overall) of the 2002 NFL Draft.

A former first round pick had made 30 straight starts at right guard before his 2008 season came to an end after being placed on the teamís Reserve/Injured List with an Achilles injury.

Overall, he had played and started in 80 career regular-season games and seven postseason contests for Pittsburgh, including Super Bowl XL. He was the teamís 2002 recipient of the Joe Greene Great Performance Award as the Steelersí top rookie.

They did assure themselves of keeping the starting tackle position intact, as they made a qualifying offer to right tackle Willie Colon. Last week, the Steelers franchised left tackle Max Starks.

The Steelers offered Colon a high tender of $2,198,000, which means if he signed elsewhere and the Steelers did not match, they would receive a first-round draft pick in return.

An interesting case existed with safety Anthony Smith, a player many felt had great promise, but one who couldn't keep his mouth closed and seemingly fell out of grace with the coaching staff.
(Not a Steelers player since he did not seem to buy into the team concept. He would be a perfect fit with the Dallas Drama Queens or maybe the Arizona Turdnials. - mesa)

Smith, a third round pick in 2006 did not suite up for the post-season, and did not receive a tender from the team to protect his rights. He is now free to sign with any other team.

Two other restricted free agents though, did receive qualifying offers from the team. They are cornerback Anthony Madison and tight end Sean McHugh. They were offered low tenders and it secures the right for the Steelers to match any contract offers made by other clubs.

McHugh would garner the Steelers a seventh round pick in the draft if they decide not to match, while Madison would get nothing as he was undrafted.

Two exclusive rights free agents, FB Carey Davis and OT Jeremy Parquet, also received tenders from the Steelers. Exclusive rights free agents may not negotiate with other teams once they receive a qualifying offer. Players with fewer that three accrued NFL seasons whose contracts have expired become exclusive rights free agents.

Restricted and exclusive rights free agents who do not receive qualifying offers from their team become free agents and are free to negotiate with any NFL club.

Also released by the team was linebacker Mike Humpal.

Humpal (6-3, 240) was injured during his rookie training camp in 2008 and was placed on the teamís Reserve/Injured List with a neck injury. Humpal was the first of two sixth-round draft picks (188th overall) by the Steelers in the 2008 NFL Draft.

In addition to Smith and Simmons linebacker Arnold Harrison was also released by the team. Tight end Jon Dekker (knee), who was on Injured Reserve, and also arrested in Virginia, charged with obstruction of justice during the Super Bowl was not tendered a contracts, he too is now a free agents.
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