Steelers' Haggans probably moving on
Clark Haggans' agent confirmed Tuesday what had become apparent during the Steelers' season: The outside linebacker will be playing somewhere other than Pittsburgh in 2008.
"He's not going to be back," Jeff Sperbeck said of Haggans, who will be a free agent in March. "He had a good run, won a Super Bowl, enjoyed the people, the fans. He loved being a part of the old Steelers."
The Steelers' roster turnover will include more than just Haggans, who started the past four seasons at left outside linebacker.
Alan Faneca will be one of the top free agents when the new NFL calendar year starts in March, and some other team will most likely give the seven-time Pro Bowler the long-term deal that he covets -- one that would make him among the highest-paid guards in the NFL.
Offensive tackle Max Starks and fullback Dan Kreider will also be unrestricted free agents in less than two months.
The Steelers might attempt to re-sign Starks, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in their regular-season finale against Baltimore, but they probably won't have much if any interest in retaining Kreider.
The eighth-year veteran lost his starting job to Carey Davis this season and is coming off a serious knee injury. The Steelers offense, under new offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, did not have much use for a traditional fullback like Kreider, and Davis said yesterday he expects to be the starter again at fullback in 2008.
"I'm not going to let anybody take my spot," Davis said. "They really have to work harder than me, and I don't see that happening."
Sperbeck said Haggans would leave the Steelers even though the eighth-year veteran had made it clear he wanted to stay.
Sperbeck said he never heard from Steelers officials during the season, and the presence of LaMarr Woodley is likely a big reason for that.
"No conversation made it clear that there were no conversations," Sperbeck said. "I don't know how much clearer anyone can get. The actions spoke volumes."
The Steelers took Woodley in the second round of the NFL draft in April and converted him from defensive end to outside linebacker.
He played sparingly behind Haggans this season, but Woodley recorded six sacks, including two in the Steelers' 31-29 loss to the Jaguars in Saturday night's AFC wild-card game.
Coach Mike Tomlin said Woodley didn't play as much during the regular season as the Steelers had hoped because of a nagging hamstring injury.
Haggans is 12th on the Steelers' all-time sacks list (32 1⁄2), but he had just 10 the last two seasons combined after recording 10 1⁄2 during the team's Super Bowl season in 2005.
Sperbeck, who has former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter as one of his clients, said Haggans will attract his share of interest when free agency starts on March 1.
"Just like Joey, he's going to have multiple suitors," Sperbeck said. "He'll be fine."
Free agent glanceHere's a look at Steelers players who are becoming free agents:
Unrestricted free agents G Alan Faneca LB Clark Haggans DE Travis Kirschke FB Dan Kreider OT Max Starks
Restricted free agents OT Trai Essex G Chris Kemoeatu LS Greg Warren WR Nate Washington