Steelers sign veteran wide receiver Galloway

| Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009

The Steelers added one of the NFL's oldest players to replace a promising young wide receiver whose career has stalled.

Well-traveled Joey Galloway, who turned 38 last month, signed with the Steelers on Tuesday. He will attempt to learn the offense fast enough to play in this week's game against Baltimore at Heinz Field.

In another roster move, the Steelers signed long snapper Jared Retkofsky to replace Greg Warren, who went on injured reserve after suffering an ACL injury against Green Bay.

Galloway replaces Limas Sweed, a second-round draft pick in 2008 who recorded only one catch for 5 yards this season before being placed on the reserve/non-football illness list.

"He's one of those unique guys in that he's in great physical condition for a seasoned veteran," said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who was defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay when Galloway played for the Buccaneers in 2004 and '05. "Hopefully, he can provide a little energy and spirit for us, some veteran leadership in a position that's been depleted somewhat. That's significant for us.''

Long considered among the NFL's speediest receivers, Galloway has 689 career receptions for 10,777 yards (15.6 average) and 77 touchdowns in 15 seasons. He was the eighth player drafted in 1995 and spent five years with Seattle before playing four seasons with Dallas and five seasons with Tampa Bay.

He played only three games with New England this season, finishing with seven receptions for 67 yards before being released.

The Steelers, who considered signing Galloway as a free agent in the offseason, signed him after Sweed went on injured reserve and receivers Hines Ward and Mike Wallace suffered injuries in Sunday's 37-36 win against the Packers.

"He's a guy I have some familiarity with, having worked with him in the past," said Tomlin, adding that how quickly Galloway receives playing time "depends on the speed in which he learns as we proceed through the week. It wouldn't surprise me if he is capable of learning what to do."

Sweed, who turns 25 on Christmas Day, fell out of favor with the coaching staff after dropping a potential touchdown pass in the Steelers' 23-20 loss at Cincinnati on Sept. 27. He played sporadically after that. The last time he played was against Oakland on Dec. 6. On the game's final play, he failed to come down with Ben Roethlisberger's Hail Mary pass in the end zone.

Tomlin was vague about why Sweed went on injured reserve, calling it a "non-football illness."

"He has our full support," Tomlin said. "Anything else that I say will be in regards to protecting his privacy."

In two seasons, Sweed, credited with seven career receptions for 69 yards, has accumulated more drops than catches.

Asked during an interview a couple of days after the Oakland game how he was coping with limited playing time, Sweed replied: "You live and learn. I've always felt like I was a strong person. Certain things happen — sometimes things don't go exactly the way you want them to go — so you have to deal with adversity. It's a part of life. You don't let the adversity keep you down. Everything that happens, I take the good out of it and leave the bad."

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