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Steelers make changes to kick coverage unit

A week after making only minor changes to the Steelers' kickoff coverage team, coach Mike Tomlin showed he is serious about shoring up a unit that has allowed four returns for touchdowns in the team's past five games.

The Steelers signed linebacker Rocky Boiman and cornerback Corey Ivy on Tuesday and made room for the two veterans on the 53-man roster by releasing cornerback Keiwan Ratliff and linebacker Donovan Woods.

The Steelers worked out both Boiman and Ivy with an eye toward overhauling the kickoff coverage team. Tomlin said he also may use more starters on that unit.

Cornerbacks Ike Taylor and William Gay are the only starters who are also regulars on the kickoff coverage teams.

"Giving up touchdowns while your defense is on the sidelines is unacceptable," Tomlin said yesterday at his weekly news conference.

To address what Tomlin said is one of the three biggest problems his team has — committing too many turnovers and not creating enough of them are the other two — the Steelers are turning to a pair of players they know well.

The 5-foot-9, 180-pound Ivy, who was cut by the Browns in early September, played for the Ravens from 2006-08. The Steelers, meanwhile, hosted Boiman for a visit in 2007 when he was an unrestricted free agent.

The 6-4, 242-pounder re-signed with the Colts that year and played for the Chiefs last season before getting cut in early September by the Titans.

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