Sammy Knight visits the Steelers

After being spurned by free agent safety Dexter Jackson last month, the Steelers began anew the process of trying to fill the hole in their secondary Wednesday when they hosted Sammy Knight at their practice facility in Pittsburgh.

Knight, a Pro Bowl strong safety in 2001, spent the first six years of his career with the New Orleans Saints, for whom he started 89 games.

But he voided the final season of his contract with the Saints after meeting performance and playing-time thresholds. Knight had been scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.9 million in 2003.

"Any time a player gets a chance to opt for free agency and get out on the market to see what's going on, it's always a good thing," said Knight. "Just because you can see what else is out there.

"I was in New Orleans for six years and that's all I knew was the New Orleans Saints. I wanted to opt out and see what else was out there in the league, see what other teams were doing and kind of test the market."

Lee Flowers, the Steelers' starting strong safety for the past five seasons, is an unrestricted free agent and the team has shown no interest in re-signing him.

The Steelers made a strong pitch to former Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson last month, but he decided to go with more money and sign with Arizona.

With the NFL draft just over two weeks away, the Steelers would like to acquire a veteran safety to lower their need to fill that position.

The 6-foot, 215-pound Knight has 28 career interceptions, including five last season. The Steelers will also have former Arizona free safety Kwame Lassiter in for a visit later this week.

But their primary target at this point appears to be Knight, who has also drawn interest from the Miami Dolphins.

"The Steelers are a great organization and I wanted to come see what they were about," Knight said. "I definitely think they're interested also. It would probably be a great fit. I'm an aggressive guy, this is an aggressive defense. I'd like to bring a little leadership to this team. I'm sure they have a lot of great leaders already because they're successful every year."

Dale Lolley

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