San Diego Chargers nose tackle Cam Thomas reacts after a stop against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Denver.
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers landed another defensive player, but saw a potentially better one get away.
They signed former San Diego Chargers nose tackle Cam Thomas to a two-year contract Friday. But after meeting with former Buffalo defensive end Alex Carrington for much of the day, he left without agreeing to a contract and reportedly is scheduled to next visit the Cleveland Browns.
It’s possible Carrington could not pass a physical. His thigh was torn in the third game of last season.
Thomas, 27, lost his starting nose tackle job in San Diego late last year after starting 11 games for the Chargers in his fourth season. They drafted him in the fifth round from North Carolina in 2010. After winning the job to open the 2013 season, he was benched in favor of Sean Lissemore.
Nicknamed “Baby Zilla,” Thomas is listed as 6 feet 3, 330 pounds.
It’s undetermined how the Steelers will use him. Steve McLendon became their starting nose tackle last season after Casey Hampton’s departure. McLendon also can play defensive end.
Carrington was seen as a possible starting defensive end for the Steelers, a natural for the 3-4 defense they play.
The Steelers have lost two defensive ends to free agency, Al Woods (Tennessee) and Ziggy Hood (Jacksonville). A third, Brett Keisel, remains an unrestricted free agent.
In the meantime, free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is headed for a visit today with his fourth team, the San Francisco 49ers. He has already made stops in Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
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