Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Steelers sign tight end Leonard Pope to one-year deal

By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers signed their first unrestricted free agent today, agreeing to a one-year contract with Leonard Pope, a 6-foot-8 tight end who has shadowed Todd Haley from Arizona to Kansas City and now to Pittsburgh.

Pope became only the second known unrestricted free agent to visit the Steelers this year. The Arizona Cardinals drafted him on the third round from Georgia in 2006. He played there for Haley when he was Arizona's offensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008.

Haley became Kansas City's head coach in 2009 and after the Cardinals cut Pope that September, the Chiefs signed him. He started 10 games for the Chiefs last season, when he caught 24 passes for 247 yards and one touchdown. In his six-year NFL career, Pope has 101 receptions for 973 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Steelers were searching for a No. 2 tight end behind Heath Miller. Wesleye Saunders, a rookie last season, has been suspended for the first four games of 2012 for violating the league's rule on the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

First Published 2012-04-10 20:24:16

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