Steelers sign QB Vick to 1-year deal

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PITTSBURGH (AP) 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.

Tomlin said the situation isn’t unlike what the Steelers went through in 2008 when Charlie Batch was injured during training camp. Pittsburgh brought in Byron Leftwich and Daunte Culpepper and put them through the paces at Latrobe High School before signing Leftwich, who ended up playing four seasons in two different stints with the team.

“(Leftwich) gave us several good years of service … a guy that was a franchise quarterback who embraced the challenge here,” Tomlin said. “I imagine Mike is of the same mindset.”

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.

One who has made a concerted effort to become an advocate for animals even as the stigma of his crime persists, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Pittsburgh’s front office.

“Obviously we’re sensitive to those potential things but we are going to do our due diligence,” Tomlin said. “Rest assured that we’ve done that, but rest assured he’s done a lot since he’s gone through some of the things he’s gone through and his track record at this point in that regard speaks for itself.”

There is no chance of Vick being in the mix for the starting job so long as Roethlisberger – who hasn’t missed a game in two years – remains healthy. Vick instead will get a chance to beat out Landry Jones for the No. 2 spot. Jones remains a project entering his third season, though Tomlin has stressed repeatedly that the “arrow is pointing up” in terms of Jones’ development.

Vick, however, could be an intriguing option for an offense that ranked second in the league last year behind Roethlisberger, Bell and wide receiver Antonio Brown. He gave the Steelers an up-close look at what he could do during that odd victory in mid-November – a loss that nearly derailed Pittsburgh’s momentum on its way to a division title – and there remains an intense respect for his erratic if singular talent.

Roethlisberger, an unabashed dog lover whose foundation provides support for K-9 units in the region, isn’t concerned about Vick’s past misdeeds becoming a factor.

“This is a locker room, and it’s about football,” he said. “And that’s what matters most to me.”

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Don Ohlmeyer, longtime network TV executive, dies at 72

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INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) — Don Ohlmeyer, the “Monday Night Football” producer who came up with the phrase “Must See TV” in leading NBC to the No. 1 prime-time spot, died Sunday. He was 72.

“It is with heavy hearts we share that Don Ohlmeyer, our beloved husband, father and grandfather, has passed away at age of 72 due to cancer,” Ohlmeyer’s family said in a statement. “Surrounded by loved ones, he died peacefully at his home in Indian Wells.”

Longtime friend Al Michaels announced Ohlmeyer’s death while broadcasting NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.

Ohlmeyer won 16 Emmys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, and two Peabody Awards.

Ohlmeyer became producer of “MNF” in 1972, teaming with director Chet Forte and the on-air crew of Howard Cosell, Don Meredith and Frank Gifford. In 2000 in his second “MNF” stint, Ohlmeyer put comedian Dennis Miller in the booth.

Ohlmeyer first worked for ABC Sports as a gofer while studying at Notre Dame and became a full-time production assistant in 1967 under Roone Arledge, working on “Wide World of Sports.” Along with his “Monday Night Football” work, he directed the network’s Olympic coverage and created “The Superstars.” Later at NBC Sports, he produced World Series and Super Bowl broadcasts.

After running his own Ohlmeyer Communications Company, he returned to NBC in 1993 as president of its entertainment division. He came up with “Must See TV” in the 1990s, when NBC’s rating soared with such hits as “Seinfeld,” ”Friends,” ”ER” and “Frasier.”

Watch Live: New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys on NBC

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The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Giants in a battle of NFC East rivals on Sunday Night Football.

Despite going 13-3 and earning the No. 1 seed in the playoffs last year, the Cowboys lost twice to the Giants in 2016, including a loss in Week 1. Dallas hopes to not have a repeat of last year and will rely on sophomores Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott to carry the load. Don’t be surprised if Elliott gets even more carries in this game because there is a possibility his six-game suspension is upheld and he will have plenty of time to rest up before he sees game action again.

The Giants will rely on their strong defense led by DB Landon Collins and DE Jason Pierre-Paul to try and get after Prescott and bottle up Elliott. On offense, New York is all about Eli Manning and the passing attack. Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to suit up, but it remains to be seen how big of a role he will have after injuring his ankle in the preseason. As a result, look for new additions WR Brandon Marshall and rookie TE Evan Engram, to go along with sophomore WR Sterling Shepard to step up for Manning.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Giants vs. Cowboys

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app