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Steelers sign former Vikings RB Moore

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By Scott Brown
Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Overshadowed by the agreement they reached with franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers made their first move since the free-agent signing period started last Friday.

The team signed running back/kick returner Mewelde Moore to a three-year contract Monday that could be worth as much as $4.95 million and includes a $1.35 million signing bonus.

Moore played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2004-07, and his signing by the Steelers reunites him with coach Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin got to know Moore while serving as the Vikings' defensive coordinator in 2006.

"He has a reputable resume as a punt returner," Tomlin said, "he is kickoff-return capable, he has very good hands."

Moore, 25, rushed for 1,285 yards and gained 4.9 yards per carry during his four seasons with the Vikings. He also caught 116 passes for 1,093 yards and had three returns for touchdowns.

The 5-foot-11, 209-pounder played sparingly last season, as he toiled behind NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor at running back.

"I am fast, I have the ability to make a guy miss and at any given time, I can also lower a little hit and run with a little power as well," Moore said of his running style.

New England Patriots defensive back Eugene Wilson is scheduled to visit the Steelers today.

The Steelers are believed to be about $2 million under the salary cap even with the signing of Roethlisberger to an eight-year deal that could be worth as much as $102 million.

Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Roethlisberger's new contract will only mean a slightly higher salary cap hit this year than what the Steelers would have absorbed under the old deal.

That, Colbert said, allows the Steelers the flexibility to sign some free agents.

He said the Steelers still will be able take on the $6.895 million salary that offensive tackle Max Starks will receive if he signs the team's one-year tender offer because that amount has to be factored into a team's salary cap when it is offered.

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Mewelde Moore AP file photo

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