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Steelers sign WR Wilson to four-year deal

PITTSBURGH (March 8, 2005) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers signed wide receiver Cedrick Wilson to a four-year contract, a move that appears to signal Plaxico Burress ' departure.

Wilson will receive a $2 million signing bonus.

Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Pittsburgh is not done shopping for free agents and didn't rule out bringing back Burress, a former first-round draft pick.

"A lot of strange things can happen in free agency," Colbert said. "We never want to say never."

Burress is scheduled to meet with the New York Giants on March 9.

The 5-foott-10, 183-pound Wilson gives the Steelers a group of receivers similar in size to those on the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

"If you watch the guys on this team, Hines Ward and (Antwaan) Randle El, and the guys in New England, those guys have been pretty successful so far," Wilson said. "So the faster guys have really become a threat in this league and that's why I feel I can be successful."

The 26-year-old Wilson played four years with the San Francisco 49ers after being drafted out of Tennessee in the sixth round in 2001.

Wilson started three games for the 49ers in his first three seasons, but started 15 games last season before breaking his left leg. He had career highs in catches (47), yards (641) and touchdowns (three) last season, but the 49ers made no attempt to keep him.

"They wanted to go in a different direction," Wilson said. "They're doing some rebuilding, new coaching staff, new general manager. There were a lot of reasons of mine. I wanted to be on a winning team. I wanted to have an opportunity to win a Super Bowl."

Wilson will compete with Randle El for the open split-end position opposite Ward. His versatility is his best asset.

"He's played outside, he's played a lot in the slot," Colbert said. "There are also the additional abilities to be a return guy, and you can never have enough return guys in your arsenal."

The Steelers lost linebacker Kendrell Bell, who signed a seven-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs.

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