When the Steelers signed Marcello Church as a free agent yesterday, they picked up a linebacker and kick-blocker who hasn't played since his fibula was broken in the Dec. 3, 2005, Atlantic Coast Conference championship game.

Church, listed at 6 feet 1, 230 pounds, didn't participate in an NFL camp last summer due to his recovery from the injury, similar to one that scrubbed his 2002 season at Florida State.

Church was an outside linebacker and a big-play specialist with the Seminoles, where he played along with such current Steelers as cornerback Bryant McFadden and receiver Willie Reid. In school, he once was clocked in the same 40-yard dash time as Reid, at 4.55 seconds. Church compiled 26 tackles in each his junior and senior seasons, finishing with 4.5 sacks in 2005. He also blocked two punts in his career.