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Steelers Steelers sign LT Smith for $26 million

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

By Ed Bouchette, Post-Gazette Sports Writer

Marvel Smith has not played a down at left tackle, but the Steelers have bet $26 million that he will be among the best at the position.

Smith, their starting right tackle the past three seasons, signed a six-year, $26 million contract yesterday that includes a $6 million signing bonus. His contract, signed after he was drafted in the second round in 2000, would have expired in March.

If taken as a five-year contract extension, the $25.5 million in extra money would tie Smith as the third-highest-paid left tackle in the National Football League at an average of $5.1 million a year. Besides the signing bonus, he will receive a $500,000 salary this year and a $500,000 roster bonus.

The Steelers switched Smith to left tackle to replace Wayne Gandy, who left as a free agent after four years as their starter to sign with New Orleans for six years and $30 million. Oliver Ross and newcomer Todd Fordham will compete for the starting right tackle job.

Smith (6-5, 308) moved into the lineup as a rookie when he started half the games. He has started 36 consecutive games and 40 overall in his three seasons.

The Steelers moved Smith to right tackle after he started for 2 1/2 seasons at left tackle for the University of Arizona. They believe he is more natural at left tackle than he was at right tackle.

The Steelers are expected to announce his signing today.

Tight end Mark Bruener still has not agreed to a new contract proposal made by the club. The Steelers want Bruener to accept a pay cut from $2.05 million to $750,000 this season.


Ed Bouchette can be reached at ebouchette@post-gazette.com or 412-263-3878.

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