Michael Vick needed a job. The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a backup quarterback.
One solid workout solved both problems.
The Steelers signed the four-time Pro Bowler to a one-year deal on Tuesday night, hopeful there’s enough game left in the 35-year-old’s still dangerous legs to provide the defending AFC North champions some insurance should something happen to Ben Roethlisberger.
“There’s not a throw on the field he can’t make from an arm strength standpoint,” Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin said. “He’s a very experienced guy at what he does at this point in his career and the mobility is still unique even at 35.”
Vick spent 2014 with the New York Jets, engineering an upset over the Steelers on Nov. 9 by throwing for two touchdowns in a 20-13 victory, his lone triumph during an otherwise forgettable season. The Jets made no move to retain him and with backup Bruce Gradkowski on injured reserve after hurting his left (non-throwing) hand in last Sunday’s preseason win over Green Bay, Pittsburgh didn’t hesitate to reach out to Vick.
Vick is more than six years removed a lengthy prison stay following his federal conviction for financing a dogfighting conspiracy. The arrest and subsequent downfall forced him out of the league in his prime, though he resurrected his career with Philadelphia, making the Pro Bowl in 2010 after throwing for 3,018 yards and 21 touchdowns.
The last three years have been a steady decline and he was little more than a situational specialist last season for the Jets behind Geno Smith.
Still, his presence carries weight. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell said he was “starstruck” when he ran into Vick before practice. “He’s a guy I idolized growing up,” Bell said.
Cowboys’ Scandrick hurts knee
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick left practice at training camp in Oxnard with what he told his secondary coach he believed was a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
Scandrick went down working against rookie receiver Lucky Whitehead and was carted off the field. The Cowboys were awaiting results of an MRI exam.
Secondary coach Jerome Henderson said Scandrick told him, “It’s my ACL. I know it. It’s gone.”
Scandrick has played 102 games with 46 starts. He had a career-high two interceptions each of the past two seasons.
Mathis signs with Broncos
Two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis agreed to a one-year deal with the Denver Broncos that could be worth up to $4 million.
Mathis made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and has allowed only 5 1/2 sacks since 2011, the fewest among starting NFL guards in that span.
General Manager John Elway said Mathis “will immediately make our team better.”
The Broncos are high on rookie left guard Max Garcia, but they already have two starters — left tackle Ty Sambrailo and center Matt Paradis — who have never started an NFL regular-season game.
Cruz hoping to be ready
Receiver Victor Cruz is hoping to be ready for the New York Giants’ regular-season opener against the Dallas Cowboys despite not playing in the first two games of the preseason.
Cruz, who is coming back from his second knee surgery in as many years, missed practice again on Tuesday with a calf injury that has sidelined him for a week.
It’s an injury that happened last week, and one that has Coach Tom Coughlin concerned.
Cruz was limited at the start of training camp coming off surgery and the calf injury has prevented him from getting back into football shape. He played six games last season because of a torn right patellar tendon, and did little working out with the team in the off-season.
The 28-year-old Cruz felt he was making progress before the calf injury.
“It’s just a matter of getting back out there, so I think that’s my goal to be ready Week 1, and in the interim make sure I’m getting myself ready back here when you guys are not watching,” he said. “I feel good, I feel confident that I’ll be OK come Week 1.”
Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis returned to practice field after spending all of training camp on the physically unable to perform list as he continued to rehab from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered last year.
Rex Grossman, who hasn’t taken a snap in an NFL game since 2011, could soon join the competition to be the backup for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Grossman, 35, was given a physical Tuesday morning and a workout was planned after the team’s practice.
The Cincinnati Bengals released quarterback Josh Johnson, making AJ McCarron the backup to Andy Dalton.
Miami Dolphins safety Louis Delmas was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list because of a torn ligament in his right knee.