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Steelers re-sign wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey

3/26/2015

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Steelers added depth at wide receiver when they brought back another one of their free agents.

The team re-signed Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract. The former first-round draft pick caught just three passes last season, but established himself as a key special-teams player.

Heyward-Bey is the fourth unrestricted free agent to re-sign with the Steelers, joining outside linebackers James Harrison and Arthur Moats and tight end Matt Spaeth.

This signing won’t budge the needle, but the Steelers needed proven depth behind Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton and also a player who is willing to accept a limited role in the offense.

The return of Heyward-Bey makes it unlikely that the Steelers will sign an outside free agent at the position. It is another strong draft for wide receivers, so look for the Steelers to add one in the later rounds and also take a long look at C.J. Goodwin, who spent last season on their practice squad.

Heyward-Bey is just 28 years old and is one of the fastest players on the team. He recorded five tackles on special teams and snuffed out a fake punt by the Cincinnati Bengals in a victory that delivered the Steelers their first AFC North title since 2010.

The seventh overall pick of the 2009 draft, Heyward never fulfilled expectations in Oakland -- he averaged 517.8 receiving yards in four seasons with the Raiders –- and played a season with the Colts before signing with the Steelers.

Heyward made $795,000 in 2014 but counted just $635,000 against the salary cap, as he signed a veteran-minimum contract.