Steelers bring back Wallace, Warren

March 12, 2014

After making a big splash with the signing of former Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell to a 5-year, $25-million deal, the Steelers looked internally Wednesday, bringing back a pair of their own players.

Center Cody Wallace was re-signed to a three-year deal, and long snapper Greg Warren returned for a one-year deal.

Veteran safety Will Allen also officially signed his one-year contract, agreed to last week, as the Steelers continued to retool their roster after back-to-back 8-8 seasons.

Wallace, a five-year veteran, signed with the Steelers in 2013 after his release by Tampa Bay following a season-ending knee injury to Maurkice Pouncey. He served as the backup to Fernando Velasco for most of the season, starting the final four games at center after Velasco was lost to an Achilles’ tendon injury.

The Steelers went 3-1 in games started by Wallace.

With Pouncey expected to return, Wallace will provide the Steelers with a veteran backup.

Warren, a 10-year veteran, has spent his entire career with the Steelers after being signed as an undrafted rookie in 2005. He has appeared in 133 career games with the Steelers, missing nine games in 2008 with a knee injury and two games in 2009 with an elbow injury.

Meanwhile, the Steelers officially lost their first three free agents Wednesday when tight end David Johnson signed a two-year deal with San Diego, defensive lineman Al Woods agreed to a deal with Tennessee and running back Jonathan Dwyer signed with Arizona.

A solider blocker, Johnson had been with the Steelers since 2009, doubling as a fullback from 2009 through 2011.

But he suffered a torn ACL in the 2012 preseason that kept him out the entire season, then appeared in just five games last season before suffering a season-ending wrist injury.

Dwyer had an up-and-down career with the Steelers, leading the team in rushing in 2012, then getting released at the start of the 2013 season. He later re-signed with the team and rejuvenated his career as a short-yardage back.

The Steelers currently have no players on their roster with an NFL carry behind starting running back Le’Veon Bell.

Woods, who turns 27 in two weeks, appeared in 16 games for the Steelers in 2013, making two starts. He recorded 16 tackles, two sacks and was seen as a player on the rise.

The Steelers originally signed Woods to their practice squad in 2010 after his release by New Orleans, despite making him a fourth-round draft pick that season. He was signed off the Steelers’ practice squad later that season and spent part of 2011 with Seattle before the Steelers signed him off the Seahawks’ practice squad.

Meanwhile, a second defensive lineman, Ziggy Hood, spent Wednesday in Jacksonville meeting with Jaguars officials.

Woods, Hood and Brett Keisel, all unrestricted free agents, combined with Cameron Heyward and Steve McLendon to play the majority of the snaps on the defensive line last season for the Steelers.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who was second on the team with 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns – all career bests – also spent the day visiting with the Jaguars.

Sanders is scheduled to visit Tampa Bay today.

The player Mitchell will replace, free safety Ryan Clark, will visit with Washington today. Clark joined the Steelers in 2006 after two seasons with the Redskins.

Finally, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, released by the Steelers Tuesday in a salary cap-related move, announced on Twitter he will travel to Oakland to visit with the Raiders today.

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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