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Breaston open to return to Pittsburgh, but wants to play

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Steve Breaston made only seven catches last year for the Chiefs. (AP file)

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Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 8:24 p.m.
 

Steve Breaston is open to the possibility of signing with his hometown Steelers, but the recently released wide receiver is much more interested in landing with an organization that will do something his prior one refused to do — allow him to play.

Breaston, a Woodland Hills graduate, was inactive for six of Kansas City's final seven games only a year after following Todd Haley from Arizona and signing a 5-year, $22.5 million contract with $9.5 million guaranteed.

Breaston played only 10 snaps after a Week 11 game against Cincinnati. He was released Monday by new head coach Andy Reid that saved the Chiefs $3.8 million in base salary.

Breaston was immediately linked to the Steelers because of his ties with the city, the Steelers' need for a wide receiver following the expected departure of Mike Wallace, and his relationship with Haley.

“Sure, signing with the Steelers is something to think about,” Breaston said. “But more important, I just want to have an opportunity to play and get on the field and get back to winning games and help contribute to that.”

Breaston's agent, Eric Metz, is expected to have talks with the Steelers this weekend during the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

“I know of the Pittsburgh tradition and the winning ways and it would be a great team to be involved with, but for me, it is all about using this process,” Breaston said. “I have to take everything in and see what would be a good fit for me and where I can come in and play.”

Breaston, who turns 30 in August, could fit in well with the Steelers, especially with the possibility of them losing a couple of receivers in free agency.

Wallace and Plaxico Burress are unrestricted free agents, Emmanuel Sanders in a restricted free agent (he's expected to return) and veteran Jerricho Cotchery could be a salary-cap casualty, leaving Antonio Brown as the only established receiver on the roster.

Breaston (6-1, 175) averaged 60 receptions a year after his rookie season, including a 77-reception, 1,006-yard season under Haley's tutelage in Arizona in 2008. Breaston was also a dynamic kick returner during his first three years in the league.

Breaston spoke glowingly of Haley's impact on his career and would welcome a reunion with the Steelers offensive coordinator.

“He pushed me every day in practice and was constantly in my face,” Breaston said. “That benefitted me as a player. I would make plays, then my performance would fall off the next day, but he was the one who pushed me to be consistent.”

Breaston said he is no rush to make a decision.

“I have other opportunities out there and I am looking forward to that,” he said. “I know I can still play football at a high level. I am just going to take advantage of the opportunity and take my time.”

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