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PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers added size and speed at wide receiver Wednesday when they signed Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract.
The team took to Twitter to announce the signing:
We have signed wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey to a one-year contract.- Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 2, 2014
Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft, played four seasons for the Oakland Raiders before spending 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts. The 6-foot-2, 219-pounder played in all 16 games for the Colts, starting 11 of them, and he caught 29 passes for 309 yards and a touchdown.
Heyward-Bey is the second free-agent receiver the Steelers have signed (Lance Moore agreed to a two-year contract less than two weeks ago) to replace Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, who signed with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers, respectively.
Markus Wheaton, who played sparingly as a rookie, is expected to get the first crack at replacing Sanders in the starting lineup, with Heyward-Bey and Moore providing depth.
Heyward-Bey's speed vaulted him to the top of his draft class in 2009, and he was the first of five receivers taken in the first round. The Maryland product never lived up to expectations in Oakland.
The Raiders' second pick that year, safety Mike Mitchell, signed with the Steelers on March 11.
Heyward-Bey, who turned 27 at the end of February, has 169 career catches for 2,380 yards and 12 touchdowns.