Carr's skills as kick returner more intriguing than as DB
Chris Carr already has made one impression on the Steelers. Now, he is hoping he has made another.
Carr, a backup cornerback with the Tennessee Titans, spent yesterday meeting with coach Mike Tomlin, director of football operations Kevin Colbert and several assistant coaches at the team's South Side facility. The Steelers are the third team he has visited as an unrestricted free agent, but he didn't have to introduce himself to everybody.
He did that two years ago when, as a cornerback with the Oakland Raiders, he intercepted a Ben Roethlisberger pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown in a 20-16 victory.
The Steelers are interested in Carr, 25, as a backup cornerback, but they are more intrigued by his abilities as a return specialist.
Despite his heroics in that October 2006 game in Oakland, Carr has just two career interceptions in four NFL seasons, three of which were with the Raiders.
In Oakland, Carr (5 feet 10, 180 pounds) was the team's all-time kickoff-return leader with 201 returns for 4,841 yards (24.1 average). He never has returned a kick or punt for a touchdown in four seasons, and his longest return of any kind was a 62-yard kickoff in 2005, his rookie season.
In his only season with the Titans, Carr was third in kickoff-return average (28.1 yards) and eighth in punt-return average (10.1) in the AFC last season.
Carr is the second free agent to visit the Steelers this week, following former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Joey Galloway. The Steelers did not extend an offer to Galloway, who will be 38 in November, but he expressed to them an interest in signing with the team.
The Steelers are looking for an extra cornerback after losing Bryant McFadden to the Arizona Cardinals in free agency. Carr also has visited with the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions and has not ruled out returning to the Titans.
Meantime, right tackle Willie Colon signed a one-year contract for $2,198,000 -- the tender amount he was offered last month as a restricted free agent. That tender meant the Steelers would have received a first-round draft pick in return if Colon signed a contract with another team and the Steelers decided not to match the offer.
Colon is the third member of the offensive line to receive a new deal since the end of the season, joining left tackle Max Starks (one year, $8,451,000) and guard Chris Kemoeatu (five years, $20 million).
First Published March 12, 2009 12:00 am