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Steelers sign former Texas cornerback McCain

| Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 2:18 p.m.

The Steelers previously locked up one former Oakland Raiders player who went unexpectedly high in the NFL Draft.

They'll sit down and talk Wednesday with another who could help at one of their thinnest positions.

Darrius Heyward-Bey, a fast wide receiver who was a stunning No. 7 overall pick by the Raiders in 2009, is expected to meet with the Steelers, according to a source with knowledge of the visit. He caught 29 passes in 11 starts for the Colts in 2013.

Heyward-Bey's stopover comes one day after the Steelers added depth at another veteran-thin position by signing former Houston Texans starting cornerback Brice McCain to a one-year contract Tuesday for a league-minimum $730,000, plus a small signing bonus.

After losing starter Emmanuel Sanders and No. 3 receiver Jerricho Cotchery, the Steelers still don't have a certifiable starter to play opposite Antonio Brown. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Heyward-Bey probably wouldn't be that receiver, but he would add an element of speed.

The Steelers are expected to target a wide receiver and a cornerback early in the May 8-10 draft.

Heyward-Bey went rounds earlier than expected in 2009 because the late Raiders owner Al Davis was infatuated with his speed. But the former Maryland wideout's production never reached the level expected.

He has 169 catches for 2,380 yards and 12 touchdowns in five seasons with the Raiders and Colts (2013), including a career-high 64 catches for 975 yards in 2011. He had only nine catches despite starting 11 games as a rookie.

If the Steelers decide to add Heyward-Bey, they'll need to find salary cap space.

They have only $171,934 in cap room, according to the NLPA.

McCain was the sixth player signed by the Steelers in free agency, an uncommon splurge for them that began with the March 11 signing of former Raiders and Panthers safety Mike Mitchell.

McCain, a sixth-round pick from Utah in 2009, is expected to play primarily as a slot defender and on special teams.

He was cut after losing his starting job in Houston, where he had 32 tackles and an interception while starting four games last season.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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