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Steelers sign former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith

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By Scott Brown
Friday, Jan. 20, 2012
 

The Steelers have signed quarterback Troy Smith, who won the Heisman Trophy and has started eight games in the NFL, to a futures contract.

Smith, who starred at Ohio State before the Ravens took him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft, played for the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League in 2011.

The Steelers also signed cornerback Walter McFadden — the younger brother of Bryant McFadden, he played four games for Oakland in 2010 — and wide receivers Jimmy Young, Tyler Beiler and David Gilreath. They also formally announced the signing for wide receiver Derrick Williams, who starred at Penn State and played for the Detroit Lions in 2009-10.

Smith is the second quarterback the Steelers have signed to a futures contract, joining former Texas A&M signal caller Jerrod Johnson. Players that weren't on NFL rosters at the end of the regular season are allowed to sign contracts with teams even though the new league year doesn't start until March 13 at 4 p.m.

Depth at quarterback is an issue for the Steelers as Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon are all unrestricted free agents. Dixon, the No. 3 quarterback this season, is likely to sign elsewhere.

Leftwich and Batch want to return to the Steelers, and team president Art Rooney II said earlier this week, "We like the quarterbacks we have on our roster and we're hopeful to sign at least some of them."

Smith threw for 1,734 yards while completing 51.7 percent of his passes for the Ravens from 2007-09 and San Francisco 49ers in 2010.

One of Smith's eight starts came against the Steelers, and the 6-feet, 217-pounder led the Ravens to a 27-21 win in Baltimore in the regular-season finale. Smith completed 16 of 27 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown and two interceptions in that game.

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