RT Oliver Ross Signs

With big names such as Plaxico Burress and Kendrell Bell hitting the open market, few would have thought the first Steelers player to sign a deal elsewhere would be tackle Oliver Ross.

Fewer more would have expected Ross to receive a signing bonus larger than one the Steelers have ever paid to an offensive lineman.

Ross signed a five-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals worth $17.5 million, including a $6.3-million signing bonus.

Ross, the Steelers' starting right tackle the past two seasons, was expected by the team to leave as a free agent. The Steelers selected Max Starks in third round of last year's draft and he will be given the first opportunity to replace Ross.

Burress has yet to make a visit to another team, though his agent his been in contact with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. Linebacker Kendrell Bell, meanwhile, has visited the Giants and Kansas City Chiefs without working out a deal. Bell is scheduled to visit Philadelphia Saturday.

The Steelers are in negotiations with one of their own unrestricted free agents, cornerback Willie Williams, whom they would like to return to be a backup. The 35-year-old Williams started 10 games and both playoff games for the Steelers last season, but the Steelers expected Ricardo Colclough or Ike Taylor to hold down that position in 2005.

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