The Locker Room

Ben Roethlisberger, the third quarterback taken in the NFL draft with Pittsburgh's No. 11 pick, won't take a backseat to either Eli Manning, drafted first, or Philip Rivers, taken fourth.

"Well they, especially Eli Manning, has been getting a lot of hype leading up to this and I said coming into this, it all boils down to just football," Roethlisberger said. "That is what I have been wanting to do for a long time, just get on the field and start playing. Once we get on the field there will be separation."

Roethlisberger said there's at least one tangible that will separate him from the other two.

"I think both of those guys are very talented quarterbacks, great guys, I know them both. I think I bring a little more athleticism than both of them, but I guess we will have to wait and see what all three of us bring to the table now."

And then there's an intangible that Roethlisberger thinks he has that should move him above the others.

"I feel that once I get on the field, my will to win is much greater than both of them," said Roethlisberger. "I don't know theirs, but I know mine is. I think the hard-nosed and the toughness is going to help me prevail."

Pittsburgh president Art Rooney II presented Roethlisberger with his new Steelers jersey, the No. 7 he has worn since his freshman season at Findlay High School, not far from Toledo, Ohio and a four-hour drive from Pittsburgh.

"I first got it because of John Elway and I was hoping I could continue to wear it and I do," said Roethlisberger.

The last Steeler to wear that number was Pete Gonzalez, a backup quarterback in 1998-99. Quarterbacks Jim Finks, a Hall of Famer, and Jack Kemp, a former U.S. congressman, also wore the No. 7 with the Steelers in the 1950s.

Pittsburgh signed two of its own free agents, both backups. Unrestricted NT Kendrick Clancy got a one-year contract for $535,000. CB Chidi Iwuoma, formerly restricted, signed a three-year deal with a $75,000 signing bonus and salaries of $230,000, $305,000 and $380,000.

The Steelers signed three wide receivers, a halfback and a fullback as undrafted rookies after they did not draft a receiver or back for the first time since 1985.

They are among 13 rookie free agents who swelled their roster to the maximum of 86 they can bring to training camp.

The rookie free agents who signed with them: LB Allen Augustin (6-0, 225, Florida State), TE Robert Blizzard (6-4, 265, North Carolina), DE Brandon Calton (6-2, 291, East Tennessee State), WR Zamir Cobb (5-11, 180, Temple), FB Darryl Kennedy (6-0, 230, Syracuse), WR Glenn Martinez (6-2, 182, Saginaw Valley State), LB Nick McNeil (6-2, 244 Western Carolina), RB Willie Parker (5-10, 208, North Carolina), OG Josh Parrish (6-6, 337 Washington State), S Janssen Patton (5-11, 191, Bowling Green), LB Dedrick Roper (6-2, 256, Northwood), WR Huey Whittaker (6-4, 234, South Florida) and S Yaacov Yisrael (5-11, 198, Penn State).


UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers): OT Mathias Nkwenti (rights terminated).



PLAYERS RE-SIGNED: OT Barrett Brooks; DT Kendrick Clancy; TE Matt Cushing; WR Chris Doering; LB Clark Haggans; DE Chris Hoke; CB Chidi Iwuoma; FB Dan Kreider; S Mike Logan; C Chukky Okobi; PK Jeff Reed; LS Mike Schneck; OG Keydrick Vincent.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED: P Chris Gardocki; DT Travis Kirschke; RB Duce Staley.

PLAYERS LOST: S Brent Alexander; DE Rodney Bailey; TE Mark Bruener; P Josh Miller; CB Dewayne Washington; RB Amos Zereoue.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

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