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Monday, March 8, 2010
Steelers likely moving on at safety

By James Walker
ESPN.com

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed safety Will Allen to a three-year contract Monday, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

As one door opened for Allen to join the Steelers, another one may have closed for veteran Ryan Clark.

Allen's signing is an indication that Pittsburgh is moving on with its safety position.

The Steelers targeted Clark as a player they wanted to retain this offseason. But both sides failed to reach a middle ground before last week's deadline, making Clark an unrestricted free agent.

Three days later, Pittsburgh went after Allen, and Clark is in Miami visiting with the Dolphins.

In my opinion, Clark is a better overall player than Allen, who recorded 20 tackles for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. Clark also fit Pittsburgh's scheme and worked extremely well with safety Troy Polamalu. Allen will have to prove himself in both categories next season if he's the starter.

But credit the Steelers for moving fast to fill a potential hole that could have altered their draft plans. Pittsburgh expected to re-sign Clark and did not want to go into April's draft with a glaring weakness at safety. The team already has questions at cornerback and the offensive line.

Allen, who has 84 career games under his belt, gives the Steelers some piece of mind.

(Update: The Steelers also announced the signing of veteran receiver Arnaz Battle Monday to a three-year contract.)