Steelers Match Browns' Offer To Keep Offensive Lineman

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday matched the Cleveland Browns' offer for offensive lineman Oliver Ross.

Ross will earn $4.55 million over the next three years with the Steelers, including $900,000 in signing and roster bonuses.

But it also means the Steelers are one step closer to parting with Rich Tylski, the team's starting right guard the past two seasons.

Ross, a third-year player and restricted free agent, signed the offer with the Browns on Tuesday. The Steelers had until March 19 to match the offer or accept a fifth-round draft pick as compensation from the Browns.

Tylski is to earn $975,000, plus a $50,000 workout bonus this season, a sum the Steelers most likely won't be willing to pay now that Ross will count roughly $1.5 million toward their salary cap.

Tylski, a right guard, missed six starts with ankle and rib injuries last season, and played with pain in most other games. The Steelers have used Tylski almost exclusively at guard since obtaining him in 2000 from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Ross, 6-foot-5 and 314 pounds, is an inch taller, nearly 10 pounds heavier and four years younger than Tylski. He started seven games last year -- one at left tackle and six in place of Tylski at right guard.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)