Burress, 35, is being brought in after an injury to Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers head Coach Mike Tomlin said.
Declaring the former Michigan State star to be "in really good physical condition," Tomlin said the Steelers hope Burress can pick up the slack left when Cotchery suffered multiple rib fractures in Sunday's game against Baltimore.
Burress didn't catch on with a team this season after making 45 receptions for 612 yards with eight touchdowns in 16 games last year with the New York Jets.
He was drafted by the Steelers in 2000 and played five seasons with them before spending four years with the New York Giants, with whom he won a Super Bowl ring.
The receiver missed two years while serving a 20-month prison sentence for a 2008 gun charge in New York.