Tyler Palko played for Pitt in college, appeared on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster in 2009, and started four games under offensive coordinator Todd Haley last season in Kansas City. Now, the quarterback could be one of the options as the Steelers search for depth at the position with Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich hurt.
Roethlisberger and Leftwich could both be out for significant amounts of time, meaning Charlie Batch will be the starter this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns after being a third-stringer just two weeks ago. Looking for backups to provide depth behind Batch, the Steelers are working out Mike Kafka and Brian Hoyer on Tuesday. However, Mike Bires of Timesonline.com said that Palko could also be one of the free agents the Steelers are interested in.
Palko started three years for the Pitt Panthers, beating Joe Flacco for the starting job and earning second team all-Big East honors in 2004 and 2005. After his last year in 2006, Palko bounced around the NFL, UFL, and CFL before finally appearing in a regular season NFL game in 2010 with the Kansas City Chiefs. He appeared in eight games for the Chiefs, starting four last season under Haley, then the Chiefs' head coach. However, results were mixed, as he threw seven picks against only two touchdowns. Palko had previously been on the Steelers in 2009, signing in a similar situation when Roethlisberger and Batch were injured, but he did not appear in any games as Dennis Dixon's backup.
Other potential free agent targets include Jerrod Johnson, who was with the Steelers in the offseason and training camp, and former Jaguars starter David Garrard. The team reportedly reached out to Dixon, who said he would prefer to remain with the Baltimore Ravens than try out for the Steelers.