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Browns ink Steelers Ross

The Associated Press

BEREA – Still looking for offensive line help, the Cleveland Browns signed Pittsburgh restricted free agent Oliver Ross to a three-year offer sheet on Wednesday.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

BEREA – Still looking for offensive line help, the Cleveland Browns signed Pittsburgh restricted free agent Oliver Ross to a three-year offer sheet on Wednesday.

Ross, who played guard and tackle for the Steelers last season, would likely play right guard for the Browns alongside tackle Ryan Tucker, a free agent from St. Louis signed by Cleveland last week.

Because the 6-foot-5, 314-pound Ross is a restricted free agent, the Steelers have seven days to match Cleveland’s offer – a reported three-year, $5 million deal.

Ross’ agent, Alan Herman, did not immediately return phone messages.

If the Steelers don’t match the offer, Cleveland would have to give Pittsburgh its fifth-round pick in this year’s draft as compensation.

Last year, the Browns signed offensive lineman Waverly Jackson to an offer sheet that was matched by the Indianapolis Colts.

Ross made seven starts – five at right guard, one at left tackle and one at right – last season and helped the Steelers rush for an NFL-best 173.4 yards a game.

He was originally selected by Dallas in the fifth round of the 1998 draft.

Also, free agent running back James Allen visited the Browns on Wednesday. He played for the Chicago Bears last season.