Steelers Sign Five Free Agents


Steelers Sign Five Free Agents
The Steelers added five free agents today prior to the start of their annual minicamp, the team announced. The team added cornerbackKeiwan Ratliff, punterDirk Johnson, wide receiversShaun McDonaldandJayson Foster, and kickerPiotr *(peet-er)Czech.

Ratliff (5-11, 188) was originally drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round (49th overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Florida. He most recently spent a portion of the 2007 and 2008 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and finished with 34 tackles and two interceptions during his time with the Colts.

Ratliff spent three full seasons with the Bengals before being released in September, 2007. He was then signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and spent two weeks on their active roster before being released.

Johnson (6-0, 210) enters his eighth NFL season after playing 12 games with the Arizona Cardinals in 2008. He averaged 41.8 yards on 40 punts with the Cardinals, including a 35.2-yard net average. In 69 career games played, Johnson has averaged 41.7 yards on 320 punts (13,356 total yards).

Johnson, 33, originally signed with the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted rookie out of Northern Colorado in 1998. He was released in training camp by the Seahawks ('98), New York Jets ('99) and San Diego Chargers ('01), before playing with the New Orleans Saints ('02), Philadelphia Eagles ('03-06), Chicago Bears ('07) and the Cardinals. Johnson was released by Arizona last December and signed with the Washington Redskins in March 2009 before being released in April.

McDonald (5-10, 183) was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the fourth round (106th overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Arizona State. McDonald spent four years with the Rams before signing with the Detroit Lions during the 2007 offseason. He led the Lions with 79 catches, 943 yards and six touchdowns that season.

Foster (5-7, 185) spent time on the Steelers' practice squad in 2008. He originally signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2008 as an undrafted rookie from Georgia Southern. He was on the Denver Broncos' practice squad towards the end of the 2008 season, but was released by the Broncos on April 28, 2009.

Czech (6-5, 210) spent the 2008 training camp with the Baltimore Ravens after signing as a rookie free agent out of Wagner College.

The Steelers released long snapper
Jared Retkofsky, who signed with the team midway through the 2008 season after starter Greg Warren suffered a season-ending knee injury.

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