The Steelers may have completed spring practice yesterday, but management announced a couple of personnel moves today as the team began its offseason break.
Pittsburgh signed three of its 2009 draft picks, cornerback Keenan Lewis, cornerback Joe Burnett and running back Frank Summers and released punter Dirk Johnson. Financial terms of the three-year contracts for the draft picks were not released.
Lewis, a cornerback out of Oregon State, was the 96th pick overall and the third of the team's three third round selections. Steelers secondary coach Ray Horton compared him to Ike Taylor in style and physique. An All-Pac 10 honorable mention and Academic All-Pac 10 player his senior year, Lewis (6-0, 208) recorded 117 tackles, including 81 solo in 48 career starts.
Another cornerback, Burnett, was the first of the Steelers' two fifth round selections and taken with the 168th overall pick. Burnett (5-10, 192) was a four-year starter at Central Florida and a member of the first-team All-Conference USA as a senior for his play at cornerback, punt returner and kickoff returner. His collegiate career highlights include 16 interceptions and three punts and two kickoffs returned for touchdowns. Horton referred to him as a defensive version of Antwaan Randle El and said he could develop into a playmaker.
The Steelers' other fifth round pick, Summers (169th overall), was the third player to sign a contract. He has been heralded as the short-yardage back the Steelers have been looking for since Jerome Bettis retired. Summers (5-10, 240) was a two-year starter at running back for UNLV and led his team with 740 yards on 183 attempts for a 4.0 yard average his senior year. He was the first player in Rebel history to lead the team in rushing touchdowns (six) and receiving touchdowns (seven) during his junior year.
Johnson had been signed on May 1 and kicked in the spring while Daniel Sepulveda continued to recover from the ACL surgery that caused him to miss the 2008 season. Johnson has been with seven NFL teams over 12 years and previously punted for the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints.
The Steelers will continue their offseason break that began today until training camp starts July 31.