Brian St. Pierre cited a better chance for advancement in his pro football career as a major factor in his leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals this week.
"My agent (Rick Smith of Chicago) began talking to Arizona in January and we never spoke to anyone else," the 28-year-old unrestricted free agent from Danvers, St. John's Prep and Boston College said when reached in Arizona last night.
He's already involved in the Cardinals' voluntary offseason training program and, with a couple of mini-camps that follow, he can expect to still be around Arizona in mid-June.
A connection in the signing is that Arizona's head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, was previously the offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh. St. Pierre said he always had a good relationship with him.
"There were salary cap issues in Arizona and they didn't have a lot of money until (Pro Bowl wide receiver) Larry Fitzgerald signed. Once that was out of the way, we got together on a contract," St. Pierre said.
"I thought it was a great move, including the weather aspect. I also felt I'd have a better future in Arizona than in Pittsburgh," he added. "I felt they wanted me back on their terms, and there was no opportunity to advance with Pittsburgh, having me as the (No. 3 quarterback) with no end in sight."
Ahead of St. Pierre in Arizona are Matt Leinart, the ex-USC southpaw sensation who boke a collarbone after the fifth game last season, and ex-St. Louis Super Bowl winner Kurt Warner as the Cards' backup.
St. Pierre said he could have a shot at No. 2, but not in his first year.
"I love it out here. The weather's unbelievable and the people are good. They feel they're turning the franchise around and I thought there was a better chance of becoming No. 2 here," he said.
St. Pierre had spent four of his five NFL seasons in Pittsburgh, returning there after one season in Baltimore.