Essex was signed to a one-year contract with no financial terms released. His career began in Pittsburgh in 2005 after being selected in the third round of the draft out of Northwestern.
While no other statement was made, the timing of Essex's re-joining the roster will fire up speculation on the health of projected starter Jonathan Scott, who has suffered multiple injuries this preseason.
He went down early in the Steelers' 24-14 win over Philadelphia in preseason Week 2, but MRI results were negative. Rookie T Marcus Gilbert replaced Scott against Philadelphia, but he went down with an injury as well. His MRI results were also negative.
Essex contributed to both of the Steelers Super Bowl teams in 2005 and 2008, and has been seen as a valuable back-up and spot-starter for Pittsburgh. He has played both guard and tackle positions previously, but likely will be seen as a back-up tackle in 2011. The Steelers released veteran tackles Max Starks and Flozell Adams this offseason. They initially chose not to re-sign Essex.