The have signed wide receiver Darrius Heyward- Bey to a one-year deal, the team announced this afternoon. The former first-round pick spent last season with the Indianapolis Colts, where he caught 29 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown in 16 games.
Heyward-Bey was a first-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in the 2009 NFL draft, a selection that was fueled by a strong showing at the NFL combine. The former Maryland standout edged former Steelers wideout Mike Wallace for the fastest time that season (4.30) and posted one the fastest marks of all-time.
Heyward-Bey never lived up to the first-round hype and had four up-and-seasons with the Raiders before signing a one-year deal with the Colts last season. In four seasons with the Raiders, Heyward-Bey totaled 140 catches for 2,071 yards and 11 scores. His best came in 2011 when he caught 64 passes for 975 yards and four touchdowns.
After losing Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery to free agency, the Steelers have found replacements in veterans Heyward-Bey and Lance Moore. They ve also signed veteran running back LeGarrette Blount to help ignite a struggling rushing attack that lost depth when Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Felix Jones left in free agency.
In Heyward-Bey, Pittsburgh has a chance to extract more of the raw talent that made him a coveted draft choice. He also represents an insurance policy in the event that Markus Wheaton, a second-round pick in the 2013 draft, isn t ready for a bigger role in the offense.
With the new-found veteran depth on the perimeter, the Steelers can likely turn their focus to filling holes in their defensive backfield and along the defensive line in the 2014 draft. Pittsburgh has a total of 11 picks and is on the board at No. 15 in the first round.
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