Steelers preparing for loss of Hope

As free agent safety Chris Hope prepares to make his first visit with another team, the Pittsburgh Steelers have already begun planning for his possible loss.

The team has spoken to Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark about possibly joining the team as a replacement for Hope, the Steelers' starting free safety the previous two seasons.

Hope, meanwhile, is scheduled to visit the San Francisco 49ers later this week.

If the Steelers were to sign Clark, it would complete a strange circle of events.

When Hope moved into the starting lineup in place of Brent Alexander with the Steelers two years ago, Alexander was signed by the New York Giants. To make room on their roster for Alexander, the Giants released Clark, who had made the team in 2002 as a rookie free agent.

Clark signed on with the Washington Redskins and the former LSU star started the past two seasons there.

The 5-11, 192-pound Clark is considered better in run support than he is against the pass, though he did have three interceptions to go along with his 57 tackles in 2005.

Hope, meanwhile, had a career-best 96 tackles and three interceptions for the Steelers last season.

Clark is expendable for the Redskins, who Monday added free agent Adam Archuleta. Archuleta will team with talented but troubled Sean Taylor to give Washington a top safety duo.

In other Steelers' news, in addition to linebacker Clint Kriewaldt, the Steelers also re-signed quarterback Charlie Batch to remain the backup for Ben Roethlisberger.

Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter

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