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Friday, March 17, 2006
Steelers hang on to CB Townsend

By John Clayton
ESPN.com

The Steelers fought off the New England Patriots in order to keep cornerback Deshea Townsend.

Cornerback
Pittsburgh Steelers

Profile
2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
55 41 14 1 3 2

Townsend agreed Friday to a four-year deal for $8 million that could be worth an additional $400,000 a year with incentives. Though the signing bonus numbers weren't available, Townsend will make $3 million in the first year of the contract.

The Patriots started talking about Townsend in the middle of the week, but the Steelers felt it was important to re-sign him. Though they are grooming Bryant McFadden to be a starting cornerback and they think he will be a good one, they didn't want to lose the reality of Townsend, and they wanted to keep him around until McFadden was ready and beyond.

The 30-year-old has been with the Steelers eight years. He was a fourth-round pick in 1998 and has been a starter for the past 2 seasons.

The Patriots had spots open in the secondary after the releases of cornerbacks Tyrone Poole and Duane Starks.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.