Steelers can't compete with Snyder

<b>PITTSBURGH - </b> The Steelers put a full-court press on free-agent linebacker Marcus Washington, but it wasn't enough to compete with the deep pockets of Dan Snyder.<br><br> The owner of the Washington Redskins didn't even meet with Washington, a 26-year-old outside linebacker, but signed him to a 6-year, $24 million contract after he left Pittsburgh. The deal includes a signing bonus of $7 million and total bonuses of $10 million over the first three seasons, according to<br><br>

Washington left the Steelers' complex after a Wednesday night dinner and meetings all day Thursday with the coaching staff. The Steelers tried to impress upon the former college defensive end that the strong-side outside linebacker position in their 3-4 defense was a better fit for him than the Redskins' 4-3. But obviously the money talked.

"A guy'd be lying to you if money wasn't the issue," Washington told reporters in Pittsburgh before signing with the Redskins. "But money does -- unfortunately in the world we live in -- play a part in that."

The Steelers had hoped Washington would replace Jason Gildon at left outside linebacker. Gildon, who'll turn 32 before next season, is due to make $3.65 million this year. He has three years left on a five-year contract that included a signing bonus of $6.5 million.

Gildon showed up at the Steelers' practice facility Thursday, and the first person he saw was Washington, who was touring the facility with special-teams coach Kevin Spencer. Gildon was asked for his reaction.

"I play football," he said. "Whether it's with Pittsburgh or with somebody else, I play football. That's what I do. They've got to do what they've got to do and I've got to do what I've got to do. I've been here for 10 years. It's where I want to be."

Gildon said the Steelers haven't told him anything but he realizes they're attempting to replace him. Gildon only asks that they release him now instead of June 1, when the Steelers could defer some of the cap hit from his signing bonus.

"It'd be easier now than it would be then," Gildon said of finding another job. "June's kind of late."

The Steelers' next option appears to be one of their former players. Carlos Emmons, late of the Philadelphia Eagles, is scheduled to arrive in Pittsburgh on Sunday night and tour the practice facility on the South Side on Monday.

Emmons will show up with pins in his left leg as a result of a fractured fibula he suffered late last season. Emmons missed the final two regular-season games and the playoffs after being called the team's defensive MVP by coordinator Jim Johnson.

Emmons, a left outside linebacker in the Eagles' 4-3 defense, didn't have a sack last season and was fourth on the team with 85 tackles. He started 56 games the last four seasons with the Eagles and had 5 sacks, forced 3 fumbles and intercepted 2 passes.

He played with the Steelers from 1996-99 and started 29 games, all in the latter two seasons. Emmons had 12 sacks with the Steelers and forced 6 turnovers.

After meeting with Emmons, the Steelers are scheduled to meet with cornerback Fernando Bryant on Monday and cornerback Reggie Howard on Tuesday.

The Steelers did manage to retain another one of their free agents when wide receiver Chris Doering signed a one-year contract. Doering, a seven-year veteran, caught a career-high 18 passes for 240 yards last season.

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