Alexander released; preseason opponents set

<b>PITTSBURGH --</b> Steelers fans won't have Brent Alexander to kick around anymore.<br><br> Alexander was waived Monday by the Steelers, who officially announced the re-signing of last season's starting strong safety Mike Logan.

Last Thursday, Logan had agreed to a three-year, $3.1 million deal that includes an $800,000 signing bonus.

Even though he's been re-signed, Logan, who'll turn 30 on Sept. 15, isn't expected to keep last year's No. 1 draft pick, Troy Polamalu, on the bench as the second-team strong safety again. But with Alexander out of the way, Logan could start at free safety if he beats third-year player Chris Hope for the position.

Hope was expected by many fans and media to unseat Alexander as the Steelers' free safety last season, but Alexander held on to the job, despite signs he had slowed significantly.

The criticism reached a head when Alexander was chastised by former San Francisco 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, a guest in the Monday Night Football broadcasting booth, for taking a poor angle before missing a tackle on Kevan Barlow's game-breaking 78-yard touchdown run. It was the longest run given up by the Steelers last season.

Alexander, 32, had started every game (64), plus four post-season contests, during his four seasons with the Steelers. He finished last season with 83 total tackles, his best since the 2000 season, and led the team with four interceptions.

Alexander had signed with the Steelers on May 31, 2000. In four seasons he has 15 interceptions. During his entire 10-year NFL career, Alexander has 21 interceptions. He also has two career post-season interceptions.

Alexander's departure leaves the Steelers with Logan and Hope as the free safeties and Polamalu and second-year pro Russell Stuvaints as the strong safeties.

NOTES -- The Steelers released a partial pre-season schedule yesterday, with complete dates and times to be announced. The Steelers will open the preseason on the weekend of Aug. 12-16 on the road against the Detroit Lions before hosting the Houston Texans the following weekend (Aug. 19-23). A nationally televised (ESPN) Thursday night game on Aug. 26 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Field is the third game, followed by a home game the fourth weekend (Sept. 2-5) against the NFC champion Carolina Panthers. The NFL regular season opens Thursday, Sept. 9. Kickoff weekend is Sept. 9-13.

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