Steelers lose Allen, will host Bradshaw

March 28, 2013

Having already lost unrestricted free agent Ryan Mundy to the New York Giants earlier this month, the Steelers’ depth at safety suffered another blow Wednesday when veteran Will Allen agreed to a deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

The loss leaves the Steelers with only a pair of untested players, Robert Golden and Damon Cromartie-Smith, behind starters Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark.

Meanwhile, the Steelers will host their first veteran free agent in two weeks when former Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw visits today.

Bradshaw, who rushed for 1,015 yards last season with a 4.6-yard average per carry in 14 games last season, was released by the Giants prior to the start of the free agency period in a salary cap-related move.

The Giants had signed Bradshaw, a seventh-round pick out of Marshall in 2007, to a four-year, $18-million contract in 2010. But he has suffered through foot problems, including having a screw inserted in his broken right foot at the conclusion of last season.

The surgery required 10 weeks to heal and the 27-year-old Bradshaw only recently was able to stop using a walking boot.

A two-time 1,000-yard rusher, Bradshaw also is an accomplished receiver, setting a career high in 2010 with 47 catches out of the backfield. He has 4,232 career rushing yards and 32 touchdowns.

Bradshaw, who also is drawing interest from the Jets, Giants and Packers, will be the second veteran running back the Steelers have hosted since the free agent period began three weeks ago. They brought in former Arizona Cardinals running back Beanie Wells.

Pittsburgh is in the market for a running back after losing 2008 first-round draft pick Rashard Mendenhall in free agency. Mendenhall signed with Arizona.

Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers with 623 yards rushing on 156 carries last season. It was the fewest yards to lead the team since Merril Hoge had 610 yards rushing in 1991.

Allen started seven games in place of an injured Polamalu in 2012, recording 34 tackles and making three pass defenses. The 10-year veteran had played mostly special teams in his first two seasons with the Steelers after signing as a free agent from Tampa Bay.

Dale Lolley has been with the Observer-Reporter since 1993 after previously working at WJAC-TV and the Tribune-Democrat in Johnstown, and The Derrick in Oil City. A native of Fryburg, Pa., he is a graduate of North Clarion High School and the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, where he earned a degree in journalism. He has covered the Pittsburgh Steelers since joining the Observer-Reporter in 1993, and also serves as the outdoors editor. He also is a radio host for Pittsburgh’s ESPN 970-AM, and serves as administrative adviser for the Red & Black, Washington & Jefferson College’s student newspaper.

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