One signing that was under the radar was defensive lineman Travis Kirschke an eight-year veteran out of UCLA. When Rodney Bailey signed with New England the Steelers signed Kirschke who played last season in San Francisco.
Kirschke entered the league as a undrafted free agent with the Lions in 1997 and spent six seasons there as a back up to James Jones and Luther Elliss.
He was attracted to Pittsburgh and jumped at the chance to sign with the Steelers.
"I think just the organization seems like a very solid one," Kirschke said. "The energy to win, the great history that this organization has. It's just an honor to be a part of a football team that has those qualities."
It hasn't been an easy road making the NFL as a undrafted free agent.
"I think the biggest thing that has allowed me to play in the NFL this long," Kirschke explained. "Was the determination I have and the hard work that I like to put towards football and the love I have for it."
Kirschke caught the Steelers' eye when he was in San Francisco.
"We feel we got a good player and a draft pick and a longer-term commitment than just the one-year Rodney Bailey was offered," said Director of Football Operations Kevin Colbert.
Kirschke feels after being here for workouts and mini camp that the Steelers can turnaround their defensive woes of a year ago.
"I think so definitely," Kirschke stated. "It's all in your mind. If you're willing to put in the extra work and you can figure out where the problems are and this is what off-seasons are for - to correct those mistakes. You can definitely turn things around in a year."
Kirschke is versatile and can play defensive end or tackle.
"I'm very versatile," Kirschke explained. "I can play either side, either position at nose tackle or end. I can play a lot of different things and I feel that I'm very solid in either position."
He provides depth for Pittsburgh.
"I think everybody is starting to realize that in the NFL," Kirschke said. "You can't have enough depth because any given play the player in front of you could go down and you've got to have a solid back up."
Kirschke has been pleased with the way he's been received by the coaching staff.
"It's been great," Kirschke offered. "Just the welcoming and the open hands that they have expressed towards me, just their energy to win is very attractive. It's been great I can't wait to get started and see when the bullets start flying how it's all going to go."
Kirschke Happy to be A Steeler
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