Thu, Aug 05, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Steelers sign Roethlisberger in six-year deal

AP , NEW YORK

Ben Roethlisberger got the quarterback premium he wanted from the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The 11th overall pick and third quarterback taken, Roethlisberger signed a six-year contract with the Steelers on Tuesday. The deal includes a signing bonus of US$9,009,000, about US$1 million more than cornerback Dunta Robinson, the 10th pick, got from Houston.

"We felt that quarterbacks deserve a premium, and the Steelers ultimately agreed," said Leigh Steinberg, Roethlisberger's agent.

Roethlisberger is the third of the four quarterbacks chosen in the first round of the draft to agree to terms.

Eli Manning, the first overall pick, got a US$20 million signing bonus from the New York Giants. J.P. Losman, taken 22nd overall, signed last weekend with Buffalo, getting a bonus of US$5.6 million.

Philip Rivers, taken fourth overall, and tight end Kellen Winslow, the sixth player chosen, remain the highest unsigned draft picks among the five first-rounders not under contract.

Rivers was taken by the Giants then traded to San Diego for Manning, who requested before the draft that the Chargers pass on him. Rivers' agent, Jimmy Sexton, is seeking first-pick money for his client even though he was No. 4 overall.

That figures to be a difficult signing, as does Winslow, whose agent already has turned down a contract similar to the one signed with Washington by safety Sean Taylor, taken fifth overall.

Roethlisberger, who left Miami of Ohio after his junior year, fell to 11th in part because of the Manning-Rivers scenario. At one point before the draft, the Giants appeared to prefer him to Rivers.

Colts

Peyton Manning's security blanket has gotten too heavy.

Tarik Glenn, the Indianapolis starter at left tackle the past six seasons, was kept out of practice Tuesday because he was overweight.

Jets

First-round pick Jonathan Vilma injured his left calf during the morning practice.

Injuries seem to be mounting for the Jets. Defensive tackle Josh Evans sprained his left knee and missed the afternoon session. Key free-agent acquisitions Eric Barton and Reggie Tongue also missed practice with leg injuries. All three are day to day.

Falcons

A day after agreeing to a US$25 million, five-year contract with Atlanta, first-round draft pick DeAngelo Hall reported to training camp, still a starting cornerback despite a six-day holdout.

"Now, I'm ready," Hall said.

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