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Dennis Dixon unsigned with Steelers, wants a chance to start

Dennis Dixon

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon drops back to pass against the Baltimore Ravens during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, in Baltimore. The Ravens won 20-17 in overtime. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Quarterback Dennis Dixon isn’t in camp with the Steelers and doesn’t want to sign his one-year tender offer as a restricted free agent because he wants to go to a team that will give him a chance to start.

The Steelers put a fifth-round tender on Dixon, which means that he’s free to sign with another team, and if he does the Steelers would have the right to match the offer or get that team’s fifth-round pick in next year’s draft. But so far, no team has signed Dixon to an offer sheet.

Dixon could sign the tender and report to the Steelers, but Dixon’s agent, Jeff Sperbeck, says he doesn’t want to do that. Dixon wants to be with a team that will let him compete for playing time, and in Pittsburgh, he has no chance of unseating Ben Roethlisberger.

“Dennis would love the opportunity to start,” Sperbeck told ESPN.com. “Yes, we would look forward to an opportunity for a trade -- it’s a starting opportunity we’re looking for.”

Dixon started the first two games of last season when Roethlisberger was suspended, so teams around the league have seen what he can do. He’s still raw as a passer, but he’s a talented athlete, and it’s a little surprising that no team thinks he’s worth a fifth-round pick.

But given that no team does think Dixon is worth a fifth-round pick, he’d probably be better off signing the tender and getting back to work. It’s better for a developing young player to be in training camp as a backup than not in camp at all.