Steelers Notebook: St. Pierre could be returning

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Quarterback Brian St. Pierre, who refused the Steelers' offer in the middle of last season to instead stay on Baltimore's practice squad, may agree to join them today.

St. Pierre was released by Baltimore last week. The Steelers talked to his agent yesterday after they learned that starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will miss one and probably two games after having an appendectomy yesterday.

"We have some people coming in," coach Bill Cowher said. "But I've been in this business long enough not to name the name because I've seen crazier things happen."

Charlie Batch will start while Roethlisberger recuperates. The team also signed rookie quarterback Omar Jacobs to the practice squad after releasing him Saturday.

"We're looking at all our options," Cowher said. "I don't want to elaborate at this point."

Shane Boyd, cut by the Steelers Friday, also is an option.

Because St. Pierre has less than four years vested as a pro, the Steelers could sign him to a contract and keep him for a few weeks without being obliged to pay him for a full season.

The Steelers drafted him in 2003 from Boston College, and he spent the season as the third quarterback. St. Pierre split time between the regular roster and practice squads in 2004, and was not happy about it. After the Steelers cut him before the 2005 season, he signed with Baltimore as a practice squad player.

He felt he had a better future with the Ravens, part of the reason he refused the Steelers' efforts to re-sign him to their regular roster when Roethlisberger recuperated from knee surgery in November.

Practice squad filled

The Steelers signed eight players to the practice squad, all of them waived Friday or Saturday by the team: Jacobs, defensive end Shaun Nua, running back Cedric Humes, tight end Jon Dekker, defensive end Orien Harris, running back John Kuhn, cornerback Anthony Madison and offensive tackle Brandon Torrey. Wide receiver Marvin Allen, a British citizen, also joins the unit as part of the NFL's international player development program.

All eight had to clear waivers before the Steelers could sign them to the practice squad.

A tight spot

The Steelers tried to trade Quincy Morgan before they released him just before the 6 p.m. deadline Saturday.

Any veteran, such as Morgan, who had at least four years accredited NFL service did not have to go through waivers. He could talk to and sign with any team he wished.

The Steelers signed Morgan in March to a one-year contract worth $580,000 and gave him a $30,000 signing bonus even though his leg was broken in the playoffs. He might have made the team if it weren't for a hamstring injury to backup tight end Jerame Tuman, prompting the Steelers to keep a third tight end instead of seven wide receivers.

Tim Euace, signed just over a week ago after the Saints released him, made the team as the third tight end behind Heath Miller and Tuman.

Ward practices

Hines Ward, listed as questionable, practiced yesterday but two others listed as questionable did not: Tuman (hamstring) and center Chukky Okobi (knee).

"Hines got through the whole practice and seemed pretty good at the end," Cowher said. "He's good and ready to go."


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