Steelers’ Edwards Exposed for Draft
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Troy Edwards, once considered the Pittsburgh Steelers’ star receiver of the future, was one of five players left unprotected Tuesday for the Feb. 18 expansion draft.
Also on the Steelers’ list were fullback Jon Witman, long snapper Mike Schneck, offensive lineman Roger Duffy and wide receiver Will Blackwell.
Edwards, a former Biletnikoff Award winner at Louisiana Tech, was the Steelers’ first-round draft pick in 1999 and caught 61 passes as a rookie. But he lost his starting job a year later and never regained it as Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward emerged not only as starters, but as 1,000-yard receivers.
Edwards spent this season as a third-down receiver and a special teams player. His 81-yard kickoff return keyed a 34-24 victory at Tennessee and he had a 12-yard touchdown run against Minnesota.
``He feels he should be a No. 1 receiver and I’m sure he’ll get that opportunity,″ said coach Bill Cowher, who expects the expansion Houston Texans to choose Edwards.
Cowher told Edwards during his annual season-ending interviews that if the receiver returns next season, it will also be as a reserve.
``He did a good job of embracing that role this year,″ Cowher said.
The Steelers could place only one player with 10 or more years of experience on the expansion list _ in their case, Duffy. Blackwell spent last season on injured reserve and must be medically cleared to play by June 1.
Witman, a six-year veteran with a history of back problems, said he likely will retire if he is selected by the Texans.