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Steelers' Miller signs six-year extension

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By Mike Prisuta
Thursday, July 30, 2009
 

Tight end Heath Miller may or may not have been free to test the market at the conclusion of the upcoming season, but the Steelers weren't taking any chances.

Miller signed a six-year contract Wednesday, according to Steelers.com.

Prior to the new deal, Miller had been scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2009 campaign, unless the NFL failed to achieve an extension of the collective bargaining agreement with the NFLPA by the end of February. In that eventuality, Miller would have, instead, become a restricted free agent.

The Steelers no longer need to concern themselves with such contradictory scenarios as they relate to Miller, a first-round draft pick in 2005 and a player who is regarded around the league as one of the NFL's best two-way tight ends.

Miller caught 48 passes for 514 yards and three touchdowns in the 2008 regular season and added 11 receptions for 156 yards and another score in the Steelers' march to victory in Super Bowl XLIII.

Miller's signing concludes a most productive offseason for the Steelers, one that has seen the team lock up linebacker James Harrison (six years, $51-plus million), offensive tackle Max Starks (four years, $26.3 million), wide receiver Hines Ward (five years, $22.1 million) and guard Chris Kemoeatu (five years, $20 million).

Prior to the 2008 season, the Steelers secured the services of linebacker James Farrior (five years, $18.5 million) and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (eight years, $102 million, including $32.5 million guaranteed).

This year's No. 1 draft pick, defensive lineman Ziggy Hood of Missouri, was signed to a five-year, $11.3 million contract, including $6.1 million guaranteed.

Safety Ryan Clark, defensive lineman Nick Eason, defensive lineman Travis Kirschke, defensive end Brett Keisel, running back Willie Parker and kicker Jeff Reed are among those scheduled to become unrestricted free agents following 2009.

The Steelers are scheduled to report to Saint Vincent College for the beginning of training camp Friday.

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