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Old 05-01-2009, 05:44 PM   #1
mesaSteeler
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Default Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt...s_623208.html#
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, May 1, 2009

The Steelers have added two veterans with starting experience, wide receiver Shaun McDonald and cornerback Keiwan Ratliff, among the five free agents they signed today.

The Steelers also signed veteran punter Dirk Johnson, wide receiver/kick returner Jayson Foster and kicker Piotr Czech and released long snapper Jared Retkofsky.

Retkofsky handled snapping duties in the Steelers' final 12 games last season but he hurt his shoulder during the offseason in a motorcycle accident.

McDonald led the Detroit Lions in receiving in 2007 with 79 catches for 943 yards and six touchdowns. Last season the 5-10, 183-pounder had 35 catches for 332 yards and a touchdown. Ratliff played parts of the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and had 34 tackles and two interceptions.

Johnson, an eighth-year NFL veteran, played 12 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season and averaged 41.8 yards per punt and had a net average of 35.2 yards.

Foster spent part of last season on the Steelers' practice squad and was also with the Broncos before Denver released him earlier this week.

Czech was in training camp with the Ravens last season.

The new signees are among the almost 90 players taking part in mini camp practices, which started today.

There is one notable though not unexpected absence. Linebacker Larry Foote said earlier this week he would skip mini camp, which runs today through Sunday, because the eighth-year veteran wants the Steelers to trade or release him.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.
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Old 05-01-2009, 06:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

Ratliff and McDonald have a chance to make the roster as long as they don't get out performed by some of the younger guys.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

I like the McDonald pick-up a lot. He's no superstar by any means, but he's a veteran wide reciever who can come in and try to make the team as the 3rd or 4th wide reciever. Behind Ward and Holmes, the Steelers do not have any experienced wide recievers. I'm happy we got him.
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:13 PM   #4
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

McDonald is a good pick up, but there is no telling of how good he'll be coming back from that huge knee injury. Remember he's had only one good year in his career then the injury. There are a lot of questions but I think he can easily take the slot position.
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Old 05-02-2009, 03:53 AM   #5
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

For some reason, I get the eerie feeling that we should watch out for Czech.

Never be surprised at what happens with the kicker. I remember when the 49ers were at their peak, Ray Wersching was exactly the kind of reliable, bad-ass kicker that Jeff Reed was, and then one year, BAM -- they cut him for no reason and went with some random guy named Mike Cofer who had potential but turned out to be just OK. With Reed, who knows? They bring in competition every year, and maybe one time they decide he's too old or making too much money, and you'll never know when. I hope it's not this time.
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Old 05-02-2009, 05:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

We really need that stretch the field reciever. I'm really hopping Sweed can fill that spot. That is what he was drafted for. Rookie recievers rarely do much and i'm skepticle about Wallace anyhow. So Mcdonald can push or replace Sweed if needed.
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

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We really need that stretch the field reciever. I'm really hopping Sweed can fill that spot. That is what he was drafted for. Rookie recievers rarely do much and i'm skepticle about Wallace anyhow. So Mcdonald can push or replace Sweed if needed.
I would say we will have two or three receivers that will be able to stretch the field. Sweed, Wallace and McDonald. We should be set at deep threats this year.
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Old 05-02-2009, 11:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

Anyone find any info on the Shaun McDonald deal?
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Old 05-02-2009, 02:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

Thing is, it's usually tough for rookie WRs to do much other than as returners because of the learning curve and route-running problems. Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson were the exception, not the rule.

I like Wallace, but I'm not expecting anything out of him until 2009. McDonald is a reliable slot guy to push Sweed a bit.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Steelers sign five free agents, two of whom have started

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...Johnson, an eighth-year NFL veteran, played 12 games for the Arizona Cardinals last season and averaged 41.8 yards per punt and had a net average of 35.2 yards...
Now we can't be talking sh*t about the Cardinals always picking up our leftovers, anymore, huh?
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