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Steelers

Steelers DT Hoke lands extension

| Friday, June 22, 2007

Guard Alan Faneca may be determined to leave the Steelers because of an inability to agree upon a contract extension, but nose tackle Chris Hoke has no such concerns.

Hoke was given a four-year, $6 million contract Thursday that includes a $1.5 million signing bonus. He was heading into the last year of his contract.

"I feel like they respect what I do," Hoke said. "They know I work hard, that I go about my business and that I try to make the team better.

"I wanted to stay here. I didn't want to go anywhere else. I want to finish my career here."

Hoke, 31, joined the Steelers as a rookie free agent out of BYU in 2001.

He played in 16 games last season (one start) and was credited with 10 tackles (eight solo).

Hoke has appeared in 45 regular-season games (11 starts) in his six-year career.

He proved his value to the Steelers by starting the final 10 regular-season games and both playoff contests in 2004 after nose tackle Casey Hampton was lost for the season due to a knee injury.

The Steelers reached the AFC Championship Game, losing to the New England Patriots.

"It would be fun to start, but the thought of going somewhere else -- you might not mesh with the coaching staff or the players or the organization, and the next thing you know you're out the door in a year or two," Hoke said.

"It might be more lucrative initially, but you might not enjoy it as much."

The Steelers previously signed defensive end Aaron Smith to a contract extension and re-signed running back Najeh Davenport this offseason.

Cornerback Ricardo Colclough, linebacker Clark Haggans, fullback Dan Kreider, defensive lineman Travis Kirschke, safety Troy Polamalu, offensive tackle Max Starks, guard Kendall Simmons and Faneca are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents at the conclusion of the 2007 season.

Faneca has said the upcoming season will be his last with the Steelers.

Offensive tackle Trai Essex, guard Chris Kemoeatu and linebacker Rian Wallace are scheduled to become restricted free agents following 2007.

"Coach (Mike) Tomlin has come here with leadership and with a vision to win," Hoke said. "But beyond that, the Rooneys have always been committed to winning, and they've won a lot of ballgames.

"I'm blessed. I'm lucky. I don't know what else to say."

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