Dennis Dixon told Steelers he'd rather remain on Ravens' practice squad

Jared Wickerham

Former Steelers quarterback has been linked to the back-up position open in Pittsburgh, but a report says he told the team he'd rather stay in Baltimore.

Bitterness, perhaps? Maybe just simple familiarity with an offense?

CBSSports.com reporter Jason La Canfora noted former Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon was approached about the back-up opening in Pittsburgh, but he told the team he'd rather stay on Baltimore's practice squad.

The Steelers are reportedly working out former Eagles QB Mike Kafka and former Patriots QB Brian Hoyer in wake of injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich. Charlie Batch will start for the Steelers at Cleveland in Week 12.

Dixon would have provided the Steelers something of an advantage, having been with Baltimore - the Steelers' Week 13 opponent - most of this season. He was released by the Ravens Nov. 7, but re-signed with the team around when Roethlisberger was injured - not likely a coincidence.

Certainly, Dixon doesn't have to sign anywhere he doesn't want to, but he'd make more as a member of the Steelers' active roster than the $5,700 a week he's likely to get as a Ravens practice squad member.

Assuming, of course, the Ravens aren't giving Dixon something extra to keep him around.

While they may have (and Dixon would be dumb to let this situation pass him without getting a raise), and there's no rule suggesting they cannot do it (the extra money on top of the $5,700 goes against the salary cap), the reasons behind his decision are intriguing.

Rules say a player signed from another team's practice squad must be placed on the active roster and remain there for three weeks. That would give Dixon a significant raise, not to mention the opportunity to play. He may balk at the idea of signing, only to be released upon the supposed return from injury of Roethlisberger and Leftwich. He may simply feel he has a better chance to play in Baltimore - despite the fact starting quarterback Joe Flacco seems to be impervious to basic human frailty.

The Steelers didn't sign Dixon to a free agent contract this offseason when his rookie deal expired, but Dixon suggested he wanted to play for a team in which he'd have a chance to compete for a starting job. Obviously, that wouldn't happen in Pittsburgh. Baltimore signed him to its practice squad in September, and has hasn't gone anywhere else.

Either way, Dixon seems out of the running for reasons we'll perhaps never know. What's highly likely, though, is he won't dress when the Steelers take on the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 13.

That apparently is good enough for Dixon.


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