Steelers Sign Free Agent QB Aaron Brooks

Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
By Matt Savrock
Guest Columnist


Aaron Brooks, former quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and Oakland Raiders, has signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brooks is expected to compete with Jared Zabransky for the third spot on the depth chart.

Aaron BrooksPittsburgh will hold a press conference at 3 pm Wednesday to announce the signing.

Reports indicate that if Brooks makes the roster this fall, he will receive a one-year contract for the veteran minimum of $750,000.

In a statement released by his agent, the former Pro Bowler expressed his enthusiasm about the signing. "I'm very excited about the opportunity to play for one of the great franchises in the NFL. I've been through some tough times the past few years. Now I have a chance to revive my career, and I look forward to contribute in any way possible."

Last season, Brooks was out of football after being released by the Raiders.

For the first few years of his career, Brooks looked like a great quarterback prospect. He took over the starting job in 2000 after an injury to Jeff Blake and led the Saints to their first playoff win. His performance that year landed him a megacontract with the Saints. After a mediocre 2001, he bounced back to lead New Orleans to a 9-4 start. But a shoulder injury affected his play, and the Saints lost their last three games to miss the playoffs. The hostile fan reaction affected his confidence, leading to a downward spiral that ended with Brooks being benched late in the 2005 season, when the Saints were nomads due to the Superdome being damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Oakland, famous for its reclamation projects, signed the former Virginia quarterback after his release by the Saints. The Raiders hoped that a fresh start with a new team would allow him to regain the form he showed early in his career.

Oakland owner Al Davis said that the Brooks signing was better for Pittsburgh than it looks on paper. "Brooks has a lot of talent. It's just that he wasn't in the right situation. We didn't have much of a team around him. And people forget that his only really bad season was 2005, when he didn't even have a home stadium."

Lane Kiffin, the current Oakland coach, expressed skepticism. "I didn't see anything that made me think he could be a contributor. That's why I didn't keep him around. But it's probably a good deal for the Steelers, since there's no risk involved for them." Raiders and Saints fans were critical of the signing. One Saints fan, using the name Siddhartha, called a local talk show and said "Looks like Tom Benson is no longer the dumbest black and gold owner." On an Oakland message board, Raiders fan Lou Flirpa posted that "the Steelers must think their defense needs practice returning interceptions."

April Fools! Spell out two words using the first letter of each starting paragraph. I'm surpised nobody caught it. This article drew attention from numerous web sites and was even listed on Wikipedia!