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Steelers sign RB DeAngelo Williams

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Pittsburgh and Williams came to terms on the deal after Williams visited with the team Friday. The signing helps establish backfield depth in the likely event Bell must serve a suspension early in the season for a DUI arrest in 2014.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bell has a back-up.

The Steelers signed veteran running back DeAngelo Williams Friday, a move made to bolster depth behind All Pro running back Le'Veon Bell.

The announcement of his signing came right after the team announced a contract extension for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

It's been only a question of who all offseason in Pittsburgh. Bell is facing a suspension that could keep him out of action anywhere from one to four games, and many still feel the position will need to be addressed in the draft.

For now, it's Williams, the soon-to-be-32-year-old running back who starred for the Panthers in his nine-year career.

Williams is Carolina's all-time leader in rushing yards (6,846), touchdowns (46) and attempts (1,432). He owns several other franchise rushing records from his nine seasons with the club.

"That was the end. That was it. Nobody came to the funeral," Williams told WBTV's Molly Grantham in February. "The owner didn't reach out. He didn't say anything. Never talked to me. Nobody upstairs ever talked to me.

"The only two people who ever said anything to me was coach Rivera and Dave Gettleman. There's nothing that coach Rivera and Dave Gettleman can do to me that will make me mad or make me hate them because in my darkest hour they were there for me."

He began his career as a back-up to DeShaun Foster, and eventually became the main running back. The Panthers made the surprise selection of RB Jonathan Stewart in 2008, but Williams made the most of his first year with the bulk of the carries. He was named to the All Pro team after gaining over 1,700 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns (18 rushing, two receiving). 

At the end of his tenure with the Panthers, Williams expressed resentment at the majority of the Panthers' organization over what he felt was a lack of support, particularly from owner Jerry Richardson, after his mother passed away from breast cancer.

There was a time in Pittsburgh where some thought the Steelers may have been looking to select Williams in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He was an All-America selection at Memphis, and with what was thought to be an excellent running backs class, the competition was such Williams fell to 27 overall. The Steelers had traded up from the 32nd pick to 25 with the Giants to select Ohio State's Santonio Holmes.

Williams is the Steelers' first outside free agent signing of 2015. The team is expected to sign quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to an extension at some point, and a decision on the future of safety Troy Polamalu is forthcoming as well. With those moves, it would appear the Steelers will still have salary cap space, and could be targeting other free agents.

A CBS Sports report said the Steelers were interested in a kick returner, and the loss of Brice McCain (signed with Miami) may have them looking at a veteran cornerback as well.