Looking for a Fair chance

<b>PITTSBURGH –</b> When the Steelers signed cornerback Terry Fair in January, it was seen as the team just adding another former Detroit Lions player to its roster. <br><br> Why not? Since former Lions front office man Kevin Colbert took over as the Steelers director of football operations, the Steelers have signed ex-Lions as if they are expecting one of them to have the answer to the meaning of life. <br><br> But Fair was different.

Unlike players many of the other former Lions the Steelers signed, Fair had a pretty good pedigree. A No. 1 pick in 1998, the 27-year-old Fair has 48 career starts under his belt. And he also owns seven career interceptions and two kickoff returns for touchdowns.

But he also owns a lengthy injury history, including a broken foot suffered two seasons ago while playing for the Carolina Panthers that caused him to miss the entire 2003 season.

"That made me really realize how much I missed football," said Fair. "When you're away from something you love like that, it really kills you. But I needed to get completely healthy."

Now that he is, Fair is glad he was given one more shot to show he can still play in the NFL.

"I don't have any expectations here," said Fair, who will earn $535,000 if he earns a spot on the Steelers roster. "They don't owe me anything here. I have to earn my spot on this team. And that's just fine."

But he admits it won't be easy.

"It's been a little difficult," said Fair, who was taken one pick before Randy Moss in the 1998 draft. "I'm still trying to learn the defense and what's expected. I blew some assignments (at the team's mini-camp). But I am learning it."

Where Fair fits into the Steelers' plans remains an interesting question. Currently, Deshea Townsend and Chad Scott are the team's starting corners, with second-year man Ike Taylor being the Steelers' dime and nickel player. But rookie Ricardo Colclough was a second-round pick this year and the team has great expectations for him, while Chidi Iwuoma, another Detroit castoff, is one of the team's best special teams players.

"I don't know where I fit in at right now," said Fair. "I'm just trying to show them I can still play this game. Hopefully, I can do that between now and training camp."

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