Chris Dieker to sign free agent contract with Pittsburgh Steelers

    Chris Dieker threw for 5,237 and 41 touchdowns in his career at Southern Illinois

    Chris Dieker threw for 5,237 and 41 touchdowns in his career at Southern Illinois
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    July 27, 2011

    By Jason Clay

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Former Southern Illinois quarterback Chris Dieker agreed Wednesday to a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Dieker, who is one of three quarterbacks in SIU history to throw for over 5,000 yards in a career, is flying to Pittsburgh Wednesday evening and will meet with team officials Thursday to sign a contract. He will receive a physical and then report with the rest of the team for training camp at 3 p.m. ET.

    "It feels great just to get an opportunity," Dieker said. "To be able to compete with players at that level is really exciting."

    Dieker led the Salukis to a 20-9 record in his three years as a starter. He ranks in the top five of 13 different offensive categories in the school record books, including third with 5,237 career passing yards.

    The 6-5, 230-pound gunslinger out of Topeka, Kan. completed 446-of-757 passes in his career with 41 touchdowns. In his final game as a Saluki, Dieker threw for a career-high 279 yards and accounted for six touchdowns (four passing, two rushing) in a win over Indiana State. Dieker was named the National Offensive Player of the Week by the College Football Performance Awards for his game against the Sycamores.

    He led the Salukis to the Missouri Valley Football Conference championship in both 2008 and 2009. Dieker also ran for 498 yards in his career, with 272 of that coming his senior season, and 12 touchdowns.

    He will be one of five quarterback for the Steelers in training camp. The team's other quarterbacks are Ben Roethlisberger, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch and Dennis Dixon.

    Dieker is the second Saluki to sign a rookie free agent contract in as many days, as linebacker Stephen Franklin signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday.

    Other Salukis in NFL training camps this year include running backs Brandon Jacobs (New York Giants) and Deji Karim (Jacksonville Jaguars), linebacker Bart Scott (New York Jets) and cornerback Korey Lindsey, who was a 2011 draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.