By BOB LABRIOLA
The NFL calendar is made of up a number of different seasons. There's the preseason, the regular season and the postseason, of course. There's the offseason, which for the Steelers ended on Thursday, June 11 with the conclusion of the final OTA.
There's also the time between the end of the offseason and the beginning of the preseason, and that has come to be known as the signing season. Between now and the opening of training camps is when most teams come to agreements with their draft picks, and the Steelers began their signing season by working out contracts with three of their draft picks – Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett and Frank Summers.
Lewis, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound cornerback, was the second of the team's two third-round picks. Burnett, a 5-9, 192-pound cornerback from Central Florida, and Frank Summers, the 5-9, 240-pound running back, were selected on consecutive picks by the Steelers in the fifth round of the 2009 draft.
Lewis, Burnett and Summers all signed three-year deals.
In a related move, the Steelers released veteran punter Dirk Johnson.
Johnson, 33, was entering his eighth NFL season and had punted for New Orleans, Philadelphia, Chicago and Arizona during a career in which he averaged 41.7 yards on 320 punts.
The signings of Lewis, Burnett and Summers were the first of the team's nine draft picks. The Steelers open training camp on July 31 at Saint Vincent College.