Steelers add safety, lose veteran

The Steelers had another busy day, signing a new free safety and working out their puzzle at defensive end. But Steelers fans will miss one of their favorites as Kimo von Oelhoffen departed.

It appears the Pittsburgh Steelers will move on without Hope – free safety Chris Hope, that is.

The team took a step in that direction Tuesday, signing former Washington Redskins safety Ryan Clark to a four-year deal worth $7 million. The deal includes a $1.7 million signing bonus.

But the signing came at the same time the Steelers were losing one of their own players, as stalwart Kimo von Oelhoffen signed a three-year-deal with the New York Jets worth $9.2 million. The deal includes a $3.2 million signing bonus.

As for Clark, he's considered an overachiever with a big heart and the type of character that will fit right into the Steelers' locker room.

"Ryan is very excited," said Clark's agent, Joel Turner. "He decided to go to Pittsburgh over a number of other organizations because he wanted to be a part of the world champions. He was a priority for the organization and that made him feel good about it."

The 5-11, 205-pound Clark started the past two seasons for the Redskins, recording three interceptions in 2005.

The Steelers have valued Clark's type of player over the years, and they didn't want to let him get away. They signed him to a deal on the day they brought him in for a visit.

Clark's signing with the Steelers completes 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.

Hope, meanwhile, visited the Tennessee Titans Tuesday and is on his way to San Francisco later this week to meet with 49ers officials.

The Steelers also hosted free-agent tight end Aaron Shea on Tuesday, taking a look at the former Cleveland Browns starter as a backup to Heath Miller.

Shea, a 6-3, 248-pound six-year veteran, is viewed as a better receiver than he is a blocker. In 65 career games – 30 starts – he has 97 catches for 851 yards and seven touchdowns.

Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter

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