PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed Michael Vick to a one-year contract and placed Bruce Gradkowski on Injured Reserve after Gradkowski suffered multiple injuries in Sunday's preseason game against Green bay.
Vick, 35, worked out with the team following Tuesday's practice and signed a contract that night.
"There's not a throw on the field that he can't make," said Mike Tomlin. "He's a very experienced guy at what he does at this point in his career, and obviously the mobility is still unique at 35."
Vick has spent 12 seasons in the league during a career that was interrupted by a 21-month stint in jail for his involvement with a dog fighting ring. He resumed his career in 2010 and is currently a free agent after spending last season with the New York Jets.
Tomlin was asked several times about Vick's past problems.
"Obviously you're sensitive to those potential things, but we're going to do our due diligence," Tomlin said. "Rest assured that we've done that but also rest assured that he's done a lot since he's gone through some of the things that he's gone through, and I think that his track record to this point in that regard speaks for itself."
Tomlin and Vick both hail from the Chesapeake Bay area in Virginia, but Tomlin said, "I haven't spent a lot of time around him. As a person, we're from the same general area. We know similar people and I know of him in that way, but we don't have a close personal relationship. As a professional, obviously I've got a great deal of respect for him and what he's capable of. (I) spent a lot of time in the NFC South against him when I was the secondary coach for the Bucs and he was a quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons and (had) a lot of sleepless nights in preparation for those matchups."
In 12 seasons with the Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Jets, Vick completed 56.1 percent of his passes for 22,093 yards with a 131-87 touchdown-interception ratio. He has a career passer rating of 80.4. Vick's also rushed for 6,010 yards at an average rush of 7.0.
Tomlin didn't provide reporters with an update on center Maurkice Pouncey's surgery on Monday, but Pouncey's close friend Ramon Foster believes Pouncey could return to the team some time before the end of the season.
"I think he's going to be designated to return," said Foster. "I think everything has to go in the right direction for him, but knowing him he's going to work his butt off to get back.
"He's in good spirits," Foster added. "We text. You can't get emotions through that but he was LOL-ing and stuff like that."
"I can't say he's using emojis," Foster said with a laugh. "He might not like that."
Entering Monday's surgery on his fractured left fibula, doctors didn't know whether Pouncey would have to miss the entire season or would be able to begin a possible return in late November. Foster believes it will be the latter, that the Steelers will put Pouncey on Injured Reserve with a designation to return.
The Steelers have a history of keeping spots open on their 53-man roster for the return of prominent players, such as Rod Woodson (1995) and Aaron Smith (2010). But the new rule allowing each team one player to return off Injured Reserve could mean the Steelers only have to keep Pouncey on the 53-man roster the day of final cuts. The Steelers could then fill the hole the next day if they wish.
Ben Roethlisberger talked about what he'll miss from Pouncey as a reader of defenses.
"We do a lot of communicating pre-snap," said Roethlisberger. "He is a student of the game and he's very good. ... He doesn't make a lot of mistakes and it's very reassuring but I know Cody Wallace puts in a lot of film study as well and puts in a lot of work with David (DeCastro) and Ramon as well. The communication level will be at an all-time high moving forward."
THE BIG LEGURSKY
The Steelers signed another familiar face, Doug Legursky, who was with the team from 2008-12 and was a replacement for Pouncey in Super Bowl 45.
Legursky spent the 2013 season with the Buffalo Bills before signing with the San Diego Chargers last season. He was the Chargers' starting center for a month before a knee injury ended his season in October.
The hope is that Legursky will provide depth along the interior of the offensive line behind both guards and new starting center Cody Wallace.
"Health-wise I'm good, 100 percent, ready to get back to work," said Legursky. "There's nothing that can take the place of getting out and playing with the guys, physical conditioning out on the football field. You can do as much running and weightroom stuff as you can but until you get out and start working against 11 guys on defense, you're not going to be in the best shape that you can, so I'm excited to get back in here with a few weeks before the regular season to get back into football shape."
"The system is similar," said Foster when asked whether Legursky can quickly learn the offense. "Not the same, but similar. I think Doug's a smart enough guy to make it happen. That's the biggest thing is experience. Whether Doug's playing guard or center the experience is the biggest thing you've got to deal with. Last time, we brought in a guy that didn't know the system too much. Doug was here five years before and Cody's been in the system for I think three years now. That's what we have to live on: Those guys know what's going on."
To make room for Legursky, the Steelers put WR David Nelson on the Waived/Injured list.
Aside from Gradkowski and Pouncey, other Steelers missing Tuesday's practice were DE Stephon Tuitt, TE Cameron Clear, and ILBs Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons. Tomlin ruled Tuitt out of Saturday's preseason game at Buffalo because of his sprained ankle.