The Steelers signed unrestricted free agent safety Morgan Burnett to a three-year contract. Burnett spent the last eight seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft, the 71st pick overall after they traded up 15 spots to select him.
Burnett played in 102 games for the Packers, starting all of them, including 12 in 2017. He missed time during the season with a hamstring injury, but returned to action to finish out the year.
Burnett amassed 683 tackles with the Packers, 485 of them solo stops, nine interceptions, 7.5 sacks, 44 passes defensed, nine fumble recoveries, including one returned for a touchdown, and eight forced fumbles. Burnett finished with 68 tackles in 2017, and in the Steelers last second 31-28 win over the Packers at Heinz Field on Nov. 26, he had nine tackles and forced a Le'Veon Bell fumble that the Packers recovered.
A seasoned veteran, Burnett wore the communication helmet for the Packers' defense last year, making all the calls, and was referred to by people within the Packers organization as a 'defensive coordinator' on the field. He also brings versatility to the position, having played the slot corner.
"I really take pride in being a safety that can do everything," said Burnett last month. "I can play zone, I can play deep, if I need to come up and play man, I can do that. If there's a situation where you need me in the box, I can come up and do that.
"I work hard and don't limit myself to being in one category. I try to be versatile and do everything. By preparing for that, it doesn't matter where I land. I'll be ready and be prepared for it."
Burnett, who is 29, ranks third among Packers safeties (since 1982) with 7.5 career sacks. He led the Packers in tackles in 2016, and finished second on the team with passes defensed. He finished tied for fourth in tackles in 2015 while missing five games, and led the team in tackles in 2014, and finished third in special teams tackles. He had two sacks and an interception in the NFC Championship game against Seattle, the first defensive back in Packers history to have two sacks in a postseason game.
Burnett, who played college ball at Georgia Tech, was the Packers nominee for the Art Rooney Sr. Sportsmanship Award in 2017, an award presented to a player for his outstanding sportsmanship on the field.