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Shutdown Corner

Steelers bring Plaxico Burress back home, sign Brian Hoyer as QB insurance

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Apparently, you can go home again. Receiver Plaxico Burress, the Pittsburgh Steelers' first-round draft pick in 2000, has re-signed with the team he hasn't suited up for since the end of the 2004 season. Burress, who caught 261 passes for 4,164 yards and 22 touchdowns for the Steelers, was brought in for a workout on Monday after injuries to Jerricho Cotchery and Antonio Brown left the team's receiver corps very thin. Per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Burress was signed after a Tuesday morning workout at the team's facility.

The Steelers also worked out former Penn State receiver Derrick Williams, but the three-man team of head coach Mike Tomlin, offensive coordinator Todd Haley and general manager Kevin Colbert decided that Plax should come back.

"We're looking at these guys with the potential to sign at least one at each position," Tomlin said during his most recent news conference. "The men we will acquire will fortify our depth to win this football game."

Burress signed with the New York Giants before the 2005 season, missing out on two Steelers Super Bowl championships in the process. However, he caught the game-winning touchdown from Eli Manning in the Giants' upset win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

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Soon after that, things started to unravel for Burress. In November of 2008, he accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he was illegally carrying in a New York City nightclub. In August of 2009, he agreed to a plea deal that would put him behind bars for almost two years. Released in June of 2011, Burress signed a contract with the New York Jets after turning down a two-year offer from the Steelers that would have given him less guaranteed money. He caught 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns for the Jets in 2011, but he did not return to the team and has not played anywhere through the 2012 season.

To bolster their equally thin quarterback rotation, the Steelers also signed former New England Patriots undrafted free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, who threw 27 completions in 43 attempts for 286 yards, one touchdown, and one interception in three seasons for Bill Belichick's team. He lost a training camp battle to Ryan Mallett in the 2012 preseason. The Steelers also gave former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Kafka a tryout.

Depth is needed more at that position than any other in Pittsburgh, because the Steelers are two men down at this point. Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with a shoulder injury and rib issues that could actually affect his heart and threaten his life if he comes back too soon. Backup Byron Leftwich sustained two cracked ribs in Sunday's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Charlie Batch is expected to start when the Steelers face off against the Cleveland Browns this Sunday.

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