The Pittsburgh Steelers have agreed to terms on a one year deal with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Leonard Pope, the team announced this afternoon. Pope who was played the past five seasons under Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley, was originally drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round (72nd overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft out of the University of Georgia. After spending his first three seasons in Arizona (2006-08), Pope played for the Kansas City Chiefs the past three years (2009-11). Pope has started 49-of-87 career games played, including 10 of 16 in 2011. Pope set career highs in receptions (24) and receiving yards (247) last season with the Chiefs.
For his career, Pope has registered 102 receptions for 973 yards and nine touchdowns. He started all four postseason games in which he has played, including Super Bowl XLIII.
At 6-foot-8, 265-pounds, Pope is one of the tallest players in the NFL. Pope’s best season came in 2007 when he was used as a redzone target with the Cardinals, collecting 5 touchdown receptions on the year. Pope though has only 4 touchdown catches since the 2008 season.
Pope is likely to have an opportunity to go into next season as the team’s No. 2 tight end, if the Steelers don’t draft a tight end high in the draft. The Steelers have David Johnson and Wesyle Saunders as depth options behind Heath Miller but Saunders will be suspended for the first four games of the season. Pope is not regarded as a superior blocker but can hold his own in the blocking department.