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Lewis leaves Steelers for Saints; Mundy to Giants

| Thursday, March 14, 2013, 5:36 p.m.
Philip G. Pavely | Tribune-Review
Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis pressures Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez during the first quarter Sept. 16, 2012, at Heinz Field.

Day 3 of NFL free agency saw two more Steelers leave.

Cornerback Keenan Lewis signed a five-year, $26.3 million deal with New Orleans, and safety Ryan Mundy signed with the New York Giants. Lewis' deal included a $6 million signing bonus.

“I'm very excited to be able to come back to my hometown,” Lewis told the team's official website. “Having grown up here, I understand the passion that the fans have for the Saints, and I'm blessed to be able to have the chance to play in front of them here in the future. I had a great visit with the Saints and am thankful for the time I spent with the Pittsburgh Steelers and wish them continued success.”

The Steelers weren't interested in re-signing Woodland Hills graduate Mundy after he lost his backup job to Will Allen last year. Mundy, 28, started five games in his four years with the Steelers, including three last year.

Lewis and Mundy were the third and fourth free agents to leave the Steelers since Tuesday.

Wide receiver Mike Wallace signed a five-year, $60 million deal with Miami moments after free agency opened Tuesday. Rashard Mendenhall inked a one-year, $2.5 million incentive-laden contract with Arizona a day later.

Lewis became expendable to the cash-strapped Steelers because of the improved play of second-year cornerback Cortez Allen at the end of last year. Allen will take over Lewis' starting left cornerback position, and recently re-signed William Gay will replace Allen in the slot as a nickel back in the Steelers' sub packages.

Lewis is a native of New Orleans and played his high school ball at nearby O. Perry Walker High School alongside Wallace.

After starting four years at Oregon State, Lewis was the Steelers' third-round pick in 2009. Playing mostly special teams his first two years, Lewis broke into the lineup in 2011 playing left cornerback when the Steelers went into their nickel defense.

Lewis moved into the starting lineup last year and started all 16 games, finishing with a NFL-leading 28 passes defensed.

Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at mkaboly@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.

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