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Old 03-22-2010, 11:07 AM   #1
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Default Colbert facing contract negotiations with Steelers

Colbert facing contract negotiations with Steelers
By Scott Brown
Monday, March 22, 2010

Coach Mike Tomlin is not the only key organizational figure that the Steelers figure to engage in serious contract negotiations during the offseason. Director of football operations Kevin Colbert is in the final year of a deal he signed after the Steelers won the 2005 Super Bowl. There has been speculation that Colbert will go with Bill Cowher whenever the former Steelers coach resurfaces on an NFL sideline. When asked about that prospect Sunday, Colbert said: "My reaction is I'm perfectly happy working with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the future will take care of itself."

The recent signings of Antwaan Randle El and Arnaz Battle figure to leave 2008 second-round draft pick Limas Sweed as the odd man out at wide receiver. Even though the Steelers are unlikely to carry more than five wide receivers on their 53-man roster next season - they also have Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and Mike Wallace at the position - Colbert said the team is not counting Sweed out.

Sweed, who missed the Steelers' last two games in 2009 after the team placed him on the non-injury/illness list, has been taking part in the offseason workouts that started last week. The Steelers have yet to disclose why Sweed, who has seven career catches, missed the end of the season. "At the appropriate time," Colbert said, "a statement will be made."

The Steelers, who may need to add depth at running back in this year's draft, will host Oregon's LeGarrette Blount for a visit next week. The 6-foot, 241-pounder has an intriguing blend of power and speed but he also comes with some baggage. Blount missed most of his senior season at Oregon due to a suspension handed down after he punched a Boise State player following the teams' season opener. The Steelers have not ruled out re-signing Willie Parker, Colbert said, or getting help at running back from a young player such as Isaac Redman.

The Steelers are expected to find out Tuesday how many compensatory picks they will receive in this year's draft. They are expected to get extra picks for losing wide receiver Nate Washington, cornerback Bryant McFadden and quarterback Byron Leftwich in free agency last year.

Colbert said the Steelers don't have an interest "at this point" in re-signing guard/center Darnell Stapleton. Stapleton, who started 15 games at right guard in 2008, missed all of last season because of a knee injury. The Steelers did not offer him a contract before the start of free agency.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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