Steelers sign Foote, close with Burress

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The Steelers have reached agreement on a new contract with inside linebacker Larry Foote, beating the free-agency signing period that begins at 4:01 p.m. today and keeping him from leaving for the Arizona Cardinals.

In addition, the Steelers are close to an agreement to re-sign wide receiver Plaxico Burress -- a move designed to bolster the receiving unit with the expected departure of Mike Wallace.

The Steelers wanted to re-sign Foote, an unrestricted free agent, because they are thin at inside linebacker. Also, the team is not sure if Sean Spence, last year's third-round pick, will be able to play this season after sustaining a severe knee injury in the 2012 preseason.

Burress, a former No. 1 draft choice in 2000, signed a one-year contract for the veteran minimum in late November and played in four of the final six games. But, with the expected loss of Wallace, the Steelers have only two wide receivers under contract on their roster -- Antonio Brown and Jerricho Cotchery.

Emmanuel Sanders is a restricted free agent and was tendered a $1.323 million offer to remain with the team. He can receive an offer sheet from another team, but the Steelers have the right to match that offer.

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Gerry Dulac:; twitter: @gerrydulac


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