Steelers release CB Colclough; sign Madison

With one of the best personnel departments in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers don't miss on many draft choices, especially high-round selections.

But the Steelers conceded a mistake on Tuesday, waiving cornerback Ricardo Colclough, the team's second-round choice in the 2004 draft, after a disappointing four-year tenure in which he never started a single game.

Colclough, 25, was the 38th player chosen overall in 2004, and the fifth-highest cornerback. The Steelers rewarded the former Tusculum College star with a four-year, $3.19 million contract that included a signing bonus of $1.517 million.

To replace Colclough on the roster, Pittsburgh signed second-year cornerback Anthony Madison, who played in 12 games for the Steelers in 2006 and notched 10 tackles on special teams. Madison, originally signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006, was released by the Steelers this summer.

A former Alabama standout, Madison spent one week on the Tampa Bay roster earlier this year before the Bucs waived him.

The Steelers chose Colclough in 2004, despite his small-school background, because he exhibited great natural talent as a coverage defender. Blessed with size and speed, he posted 15 interceptions and 38 passes defensed in only two seasons at Tusculum, and also scored four touchdowns on kickoff and punt returns.

At the NFL combine and in private workouts for scouts around the league, Colclough turned in impressive numbers and rose up league draft boards. But Colclough could never transfer his college success to the NFL level. He struggled at cornerback and on special teams, made errors both mental and physical, and slid down the depth chart.

In 2006, he suffered a neck injury that limited him to three games and he appeared in only three contests this season.

For his career, Colclough has played in 36 games and has 33 tackles, one interception, five passes defensed and 2 sacks. In three games this year, he had three special teams tackles. His career resume also includes 49 kickoff returns for a 21.7-yard average and an average of 3.8 yards on five kickoff returns.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer with ESPN.com.