Cornerback William Gay, one of more than 15 Steelers players who were free to negotiate with other teams as of 4 p.m. Tuesday, said he hopes to stay with the team.
"They expressed interest that they wanted me back, which is good because I want to stay," Gay said Tuesday on TribLive Radio, shortly before the start of the NFL's new year and the free-agent signing period. "I hope I'll be in a Steelers uniform next year."
Gay is an unrestricted free agent and the fifth-year veteran is coming off his best season as a professional. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder tied for the Steelers lead in interceptions (two) last season and tied for second in passes defended (13).
Gay, who started every game after overtaking Bryant McFadden in the second week of the season, also recorded 56 tackles, the sixth-most on the team.
The Steelers terminated McFadden's contract last month, but they are high on second-year cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown.
The team has little flexibility under the salary cap, and it will have to make more roster moves to sign free agents — its own and any from outside of the organization.
The Steelers, who didn't make any moves on the first day of free agency, are less than $2 million under the cap. Spending limitations at the end of the NFL lockout last year didn't stop the Steelers from signing a handful of their own free agents, including Gay.
"I want to do everything that I can to stay and hope the Steelers are willing to do everything they can to keep me," Gay said, "because I love competing with these guys."