With backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski facing possible shoulder surgery and out for the season, the Steelers signed Michael Vick, as his replacement. Vick, a multitalented quarterback who has gone through his share of troubles off the field, including a stint in jail for dog fighting, signed a one-year contract Tuesday night. Vick, 35, has been a free agent after playing for the New York Jets last season, his third team in 12 NFL seasons, a stretch interrupted by his stint in jail.
Vick comes from the same Tidewater area of Virginia as Tomlin, who made inquiries about signing Vick after he was released from federal prison in 2009. The distractions, though, were considered too much for the Steelers, and it was never pursued seriously. He signed with the Philadelphia Eagles that August.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin, acquired by the Steelers in a trade with the Eagles this summer, played with Vick in Philadelphia and said he was a model teammate.
Vick has worked to rebuild his reputation. His teammates in Philadelphia voted him the winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. He has worked to try to get passed the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act in Congress.
Gradkowski, the backup to Ben Roethlisberger the past two seasons, had surgery Tuesday on his left hand, which was injured in the Sunday game against Green Bay. He also injured his right shoulder on the same play, and coach Mike Tomlin said he might need more surgery. The Steelers placed him on injured reserve Tuesday night.