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Steelers sign Cockrell to extension

| Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, 4:54 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell breaks up a pass intended for Ravens receiver Chris Matthews during the third quarter Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Baltimore.
Chaz Palla | Trib Total Media
Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell pulls in a interception against the Raiders in the fourth quarter Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Bengals receiver A.J. Green takes a hit from the Steelers' Ross Cockrell after catching a pass during the first quarter Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, at Heinz Field.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers cornerback Ross Cockrell returns an interception past the Ravens' Justin Forsett during the second quarter Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, at Heinz Field.

The Steelers on Friday brought back one piece of their secondary from this season by signing exclusive-rights free agent Ross Cockrell to a one-year extension.

The Steelers signed Cockrell a week before the season after the Buffalo Bills released him. Because of injuries and ineffectiveness in the secondary, Cockrell appeared in 15 games and totaled career highs in tackles (43), interceptions (two) and pass breakups (11).

Cockrell played 61 percent of the defensive snaps, third most among Steelers cornerbacks.

He played seven games with the Bills as a rookie out of Duke in 2014 before being released.

The only cornerbacks with experience under contract for next season are Cockrell and Cortez Allen. William Gay, Brandon Boykin and Antwon Blake are unrestricted free agents. Senquez Golson and Doran Grant have combined to take one defensive snap.

Cockrell is the third exclusive-rights free agent the Steelers signed this week. They also locked up fullback Roosevelt Nix and offensive lineman Chris Hubbard to one-year extensions.

The Steelers also added to their roster by signing quarterback Dustin Vaughan to a reserve/future contract.

Vaughan, who played at Division II West Texas A&M, was on the Dallas Cowboys roster for the 2014 season and spent time on the Bills' practice squad.

The Steelers have four quarterbacks on their roster: Ben Roethlisberger, Landry Jones, Mike Vick and Vaughan. Bruce Gradkowski is an unrestricted free agent.

Mark Kaboly is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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