National Football League
NFL News Wire
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Backup QB Hasselbeck re-ups with Colts
    By The Sports Xchange

    Two weeks before quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was due to become an unrestricted free agent, the Indianapolis Colts signed him to a one-year contract extension Thursday.

    • Financial terms were not disclosed.

      Hasselbeck, 39, spent the past two seasons as Andrew Luck's backup. He saw action in three games in 2013 and four in 2014, all off the bench, and he completed a combined 37 of 56 passes for 431 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

      A sixth-round draft pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1998, Hasselbeck is heading into his 16th NFL season. He spent two seasons backing up Brett Favre with the Packers, then was traded to Seattle in March 2001 and spent the next 10 seasons as the Seahawks' starting quarterback.

      Hasselbeck made the Pro Bowl after the 2003, 2005 and 2007 seasons, and he guided Seattle to the Super Bowl after the 2005 season. He holds numerous Seahawks passing records, including career marks for pass attempts in a game, season and career; completions in a game, season and career; and passing yards in a game, season and career.

      In July 2011, Hasselbeck signed a free agent deal with the Titans and started a combined 21 games for Tennessee in 2011 and 2012. He joined the Colts in March 2013.

      After news of Hasselbeck's extension broke, Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman posted on Twitter, "Welcome back @Hasselbeck aka 'The Ageless Wonder'...Hasn't aged one bit!!"

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Falcons release RB Jackson
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Atlanta Falcons released veteran running back Steven Jackson on Thursday, adding to a growing list of rushers who have been or will be released before free agency begins March 10.

    • Jackson, 31, signed with the Falcons in 2013 after spending his first nine years with the St. Louis Rams. Over the past two seasons, he rushed for 1,240 yards and 12 touchdowns while battling injuries -- he missed four games in 2013 and one in 2014.

      Jackson was due to make $3.75 million in the final year of his contract with the Falcons -- money they will recoup under the salary cap.

      Jackson was the Rams' first-round pick in 2004 and surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in all but his rookie season, leaving as the franchise leader with 10,138 yards. His 11,388 yards rank 16th in NFL history.

      Jackson joins a number of veteran running backs who have become free agents ahead of the start of the league year March 10: Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush, DeAngelo Williams and Peyton Hillis.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    NFL fires back appeal to A.P. ruling
    By The Sports Xchange

    Stubbornly sticking with its shoot-and-run offense, the National Football League quickly reloaded an appeal Thursday to counter U.S. Superior Court Judge David S. Doty's ruling to overturn the suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.

    • But there is nothing appealing about the league's persistence on bowing to public pressure by throwing players under the bus in a manner that is unnecessarily humiliating to all concerned. If the goal is to achieve a lose-lose scenario, the NFL is on target.

      It absolutely is admirable, even advisable, to take a firm stand against domestic violence, which is at the heart of the Peterson case. But it remains unclear how the NFL's trigger-happy response is making things better for anybody, including the four-year-old son that Peterson disciplined with a wooden switch last May.

      In a series of responses -- ostensibly to the abuse charges but perhaps more so to public pressure -- NFL commissioner Roger Goodell first placed the player on the commissioner's exempt list, then suspended him indefinitely.

      That is in contrast to Montgomery County Judge Kelly Case's decision on Nov. 4 in Conroe, Texas, to accept a plea deal from Peterson. He was sentenced to probation, 80 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine.

      "I want to say I truly regret this incident," Peterson said immediately after the hearing.

      On Nov. 18, with the NFL in the public spotlight regarding domestic violence -- including another case involving running back Ray Rice -- Goodell announced Peterson was suspended indefinitely, telling the player "you have shown no meaningful remorse for your conduct."

      With that, Goodell was congratulated by many, including ever-present special interest groups, as he appeared to compensate for what some thought was too little discipline by the Texas judicial system.

      Implementing a new personal conduct policy, which actually didn't exist at the time of the infraction, Goodell issued the suspension.

      Peterson's $700,000 a week paycheck and millions of dollars in endorsements evaporated. His status would be up for review in April 2015.

      Setting aside perspective on whether Peterson displayed enough contrition, it is difficult to understand how that significant loss of income -- much of it permanent -- made it better for Peterson's son. His father, unlike many in pro sports, at least takes part in rearing the child, even if the manner of east Texas discipline is disturbing to many, including the NFL suits in New York.

      Never mind that Peterson certainly learned a lesson through all this, a lesson surely now understood everywhere, including east Texas. It appears the league wants to make more of this, for whatever reason.

      Spinning forward to Thursday, Judge Doty sided with the NFL Players Association's request to vacate a ruling by arbitrator Harold Henderson, who upheld Goodell's suspension and rejected the union's claim that the league failed to observe due process when it enforced a new personal conduct policy retroactively.

      The NFL's appeal will throw the issue back to Henderson, the appeals officer.

      "Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy, and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players' rights," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in the statement.

      Unlike the Rice case, in which the NFL also lost a legal challenge, it can appeal this latest ruling if it wants.

      And it wants.

      "(W)e believe strongly that Judge Doty's order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court's role in reviewing arbitration decisions," the NFL said in a statement to the media.

      "As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

      So the league continues what many believe is an admirable campaign to address important issues that are tearing at the fabric of our society. Goodell's feet were being put to the fire on the hot-button issue of domestic violence. Never mind surveys by women against domestic violence show that the highest percentage of abuse is by police officers, about 40 percent of them according to the survey.

      But, for some reason, Goodell put the league and himself in this leadership role against this social ailment when he conceded that he erred by originally penalizing Rice with only a two-game suspension. Goodell then banished Rice indefinitely, which turned out to be as long as the NFL could appeal those many judicial decisions against it.

      Perhaps the NFL should throw a penalty flag at Doty for targeting. He has blindsided the aggressive, and somewhat arrogant, actions of the league so many times that it surely qualifies as a defenseless player. Or so it seems in his court.

      --Frank Cooney, founder and publisher of The Sports Xchange and NFLDraftScout.com, covered the NFL and the draft since the 1960s and is a selector for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Peterson wins appeal, goes back on exempt list
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won his appeal Thursday when Judge David S. Doty granted a petition to vacate the indefinite suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

    • The NFL then appealed the decision and returned Peterson to the commissioner's exempt list.

      "There is no dispute that the Commissioner imposed Peterson's discipline under the New Policy," Doty wrote Thursday. "It is also undisputed that in the (Ray) Rice arbitration, the hearing officer unequivocally recognized that the New Policy cannot be applied retroactively, notwithstanding the Commissioner's broad discretion in meting out punishment under the CBA.

      "Consistent with that recognition, the Commissioner has acknowledged that he did not have the power to retroactively apply the New Policy: The policy change was forward looking because the League is 'required to provide proper notice.' Yet, just two weeks later, the Commissioner retroactively applied the New Policy to Peterson."

      Goodell's decision to indefinitely suspend former Ravens running back Ray Rice was overturned by arbitrator Barbara Jones, a U.S. district judge. The NFL claimed the ruling should be irrelevant to Peterson's case, but Doty said he found "no valid basis to distinguish this case over the Rice matter."

      Doty's ruling does not equate to reinstatement for Peterson, whose case returns to the arbitration process. His original appeal was denied by Harold Henderson. In Doty's 16-page ruling Thursday, he said Henderson "disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty."

      Doty, who heard Peterson's formal appeal Feb. 6, has long been viewed as a player-friendly judge.

      "This is a victory for the rule of law, due process and fairness," the NFLPA said in a statement Thursday. "Our collective bargaining agreement has rules for implementation of the personal conduct policy and when those rules are violated, our union always stands up to protect our players' rights. This is yet another example why neutral arbitration is good for our players, good for the owners and good for our game."

      The NFL said Thursday through spokesman Brian McCarthy that it would "review the decision." It later announced that it was appealing and placed Peterson back on the exempt list, where he spent most of the 2014 season.

      In a written statement, the NFL said: "We believe strongly that Judge Doty's order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court's role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

      The Vikings then released a statement Thursday, saying: "Adrian Peterson is an important member of the Minnesota Vikings, and our focus remains on welcoming him back when he is able to rejoin our organization. Today's ruling leaves Adrian's status under the control of the NFL, the NFLPA and the legal system, and we will have no further comment at this time."

      Peterson has three years remaining on his contract. He is owed $12.75 million next season.

      It's not clear whether he wants to return to the Vikings. His agent, Ben Dogra, had an altercation with chief contract negotiator Rob Brzezinski at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last week when Dogra reportedly told the Vikings that Peterson was done in Minneapolis. Reports had surfaced that Peterson was not fully comfortable returning to the team.

      Peterson told friends that he felt "betrayed" by the Vikings, according to reports. However, Peterson's father said last week that he would not rule out a return to the team.

      Peterson can be traded after the league year begins March 10. Last year, he told Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that he would love to play in Dallas. DeMarco Murray, who led the NFL in rushing last season and was voted Offensive Player of the Year, is an unrestricted free agent.

      Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said at the combine that the Vikings would welcome Peterson back. Coach Mike Zimmer said he also valued Peterson as a football player. However, the team is not likely to bring Peterson back at a lofty price tag.

      Peterson was placed on the commissioner's exempt list in September, when charges for child abuse were filed in Texas involving Peterson's 4-year-old son.

      He had been charged with injuring his 4-year-old son in May, causing visible injuries to his legs, thighs and scrotum. Peterson claimed he did not intend injury while disciplining the boy with a wooden switch.

      Peterson avoided jail time pleading no contest to reckless assault on Nov. 4, and Goodell suspended Peterson for the rest of the 2014 season for a violation of the personal conduct policy.

      Under guidelines Goodell established, Peterson would not have been eligible for reinstatement until April 15.

      Peterson said Feb. 6 he felt like he "got a fair hearing" in Minneapolis, where he presented his argument to Doty. At the time, Peterson said he wanted to stay with the Vikings.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    NFL notebook: Peterson wins appeal, returns to exempt list
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson won his appeal Thursday when Judge David S. Doty granted a petition to vacate the indefinite suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

    • The NFL then appealed the decision and returned Peterson to the commissioner's exempt list, where he spent most of the 2014 season.

      Doty wrote that Goodell imposed the suspension retroactively under a policy created after the incident and that the Ray Rice arbitration case had established that the policy could not be applied retroactively.

      The NFL's statement said: "We believe strongly that Judge Doty's order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court's role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

      The Vikings said: "Adrian Peterson is an important member of the Minnesota Vikings, and our focus remains on welcoming him back when he is able to rejoin our organization. Today's ruling leaves Adrian's status under the control of the NFL, the NFLPA and the legal system."

      --- In the wake of Judge David Doty's ruling in the Adrian Peterson case, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy reportedly will seek immediate reinstatement.

      Hardy and his attorneys met with representatives of the NFL Players Association on Thursday, USA Today reported, and could file a grievance against the NFL. The Charlotte Observer reported that Hardy will seek prompt reinstatement.

      Hardy has been on the Commissioner's Exempt List since last September due to a domestic-abuse case, and the league is still investigating whether he violated the personal-conduct policy.

      NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Charlotte Observer that, unlike Peterson, Hardy had not been suspended.

      "He hasn't been disciplined," McCarthy said. "There is nothing for him to seek reinstatement from at this point."

      --- Defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Washington Redskins.

      The deal includes $4 million guaranteed and could be worth $11.25 million, according to Jean Francois' agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

      Jean Francois was released by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and had been pursued by several teams, including his former club, the San Francisco 49ers.

      The Redskins had not confirmed the signing of Jean Francois on Thursday evening, but they did announce the hire of former NFL quarterback Dave Ragone as offensive quality control coach.

      --- The St. Louis Rams released defensive lineman Kendall Langford.

      Langford was scheduled to make $6 million in the final year of a four-year, $22 million contract, and the Rams need to create room under the salary cap before the league year begins March 10 -- they were projected to have just $1.3 million in space before releasing the 29-year-old.

      Langford became expendable because rookie Aaron Donald became a star after displacing him from the starting defense after four games last season.

      Langford, a third-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2008, signed with the Rams in 2012. He started every game in 2012 and 2013, tallying 49 tackles and five sacks in 2013.

      --- The Kansas City Chiefs released tight end Anthony Fasano.

      The move will save the Chiefs close to $2 million under the salary cap. Fasano was scheduled to make $2.8 million in 2015. The Chiefs had around $4.6 million in space before the move.

      Fasano, 30, spent two seasons in Kansas City, catching 48 passes for 426 yards and seven touchdowns.

      A second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, Fasano also played in Miami from 2008 to 2012. In nine seasons, he has 253 catches for 2,799 yards and 31 touchdowns.

      --- The Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran cornerback Will Blackmon.

      Blackmon, 30, started 11 games in two seasons with the Jaguars.

      In 2013, he tallied 40 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Last season, he had 28 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble but missed the final eight games with a broken finger.

      Blackmon, a fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2006, has played nine years with the Packers (2006-09), New York Giants (2010-11) and Jaguars, who picked him up after he was one of the final cuts by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

      --- The Arizona Cardinals re-signed offensive tackle Bradley Sowell to a one-year contract and also signed cornerback Damond Smith.

      Sowell, a three-year veteran, started 12 games at left tackle in 2013 and moved back to a special-teams and reserve role in 2014.

      Smith was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in final roster cuts last September. In 2013, he was on the practice squad of the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League.

      --- The Buffalo Bills -- short on quarterbacks -- reportedly are close to signing 35-year-old Josh McCown.

      The 12-year veteran, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 11, also has talked with the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. But, according to the Buffalo News on Thursday, he could sign with the Bills by Friday.

      McCown, a third-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002, has played for six teams in 13 seasons. He started 11 games for Tampa Bay in 2014, completing 56.3 percent of his passes for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

      The Bills lost veteran Kyle Orton to retirement this offseason, and the only quarterback on the roster at the moment is 2013 first-rounder EJ Manuel.

      --- Tennessee Titans left tackle Michael Roos retired from the NFL at age 32.

      He started only five games in 2014, the end of a six-year deal he signed in 2008. Roos was placed on injured reserve in October with a knee injury.

      Roos was a 2005 second-round pick (41st overall) from Eastern Washington and started the first 119 games in his career. He missed a game for the first time in 2012 because of an emergency appendectomy. Roos was named All-Pro in 2008 and helped block for 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson in 2009.

      The Titans prepared for Roos' departure by drafting Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan with the 11th overall pick last May.

      ---Offensive guard Todd Herremans was expected to be released by the Philadelphia Eagles.

      Herremans played guard and tackle for the Eagles, with 124 starts in 10 seasons.

      He attempted to play through a biceps injury last season but wound up on injured reserve on Nov. 5.

      ---Brandon Bostick authored a first-person account of the botched onside kick in the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game that gave the Seattle Seahawks the chance to send the game to overtime and eventually send the Green Bay Packers home with a crushing loss.

      Bostick, who was released by the Packers earlier this month and signed with the Minnesota Vikings, wrote for TheMMQB.com that he received many death threats in the aftermath of the defeat. The fourth-quarter onside kick hit a leaping Bostick in the hands and helmet before Seahawks wide receiver Chris Matthews recovered.

      "I messed up in the NFC Championship Game, and trust me, it hurts," he wrote. "I'll probably think about my role in the botched onside kick every day for the rest of my life. It haunts me like a recurring nightmare."

      Bostick, 25, said he was told by the Packers the onside kick did play a role in the decision to place him on waivers. He was claimed by the Vikings.

      --- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer, reuniting him with line coach Joe Cullen.

      Spicer, a former defensive lineman, assisted Cullen with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 and 2012. Spicer had helped coach NFL prospects in the East-West Shrine Game the past three years.

      Spicer started his pro career with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League (1998-99) before joining the Detroit Lions in 1999. He spent most of the next decade with the Jaguars, from 2000 to 2008, and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in his final season (2009).

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Redskins sign DL Jean Francois to three-year deal
    By The Sports Xchange

    Defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Washington Redskins on Thursday.

    • The deal includes $4 million guaranteed and could be worth $11.25 million, according to Jean Francois' agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

      Jean Francois was released by the Indianapolis Colts on Monday and had been pursued by several teams, including his former club, the San Francisco 49ers.

      A seventh-round pick by the 49ers in 2009, Jean Francois played four year for the 49ers before signing a four-year, $22 million deal with the Colts in 2013. He started 23 games for the Colts, tallying 5.5 sacks.

      The Redskins had not confirmed the signing of Jean Francois on Thursday evening, but they did announce the hire of former NFL quarterback Dave Ragone as offensive quality control coach.

      Ragone joins the Redskins with six seasons of NFL experience, including three as an assistant coach for the Tennessee Titans (2011-13).

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Rams release DL Langford
    By The Sports Xchange

    The St. Louis Rams released defensive lineman Kendall Langford on Thursday.

    • The move first was reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and made official by the team later in the day.

      Langford was scheduled to make $6 million in the final year of a four-year, $22 million contract, and the Rams need to create room under the salary cap before the league year begins March 10 -- they were projected to have just $1.3 million in space before releasing the 29-year-old.

      Langford became expendable because rookie Aaron Donald became a star after displacing him from the starting defense after four games last season.

      Langford, a third-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2008, signed with the Rams in 2012. He started every game in 2012 and 2013, tallying 49 tackles and five sacks in 2013.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Bucs hire assistant DL coach Spicer
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired assistant defensive line coach Paul Spicer on Thursday, reuniting him with line coach Joe Cullen.

    • Spicer, a former defensive lineman, assisted Cullen with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2011 and 2012. Spicer had helped coach NFL prospects in the East-West Shrine Game the past three years.

      Spicer started his pro career with the Saskatchewan Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League (1998-99) before joining the Detroit Lions in 1999. He spent most of the next decade with the Jaguars, from 2000 to 2008, and won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in his final season (2009).

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Report: Panthers DE Hardy to seek reinstatement
    By The Sports Xchange

    In the wake of Judge David Doty's ruling in the Adrian Peterson case on Thursday, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy reportedly will seek immediate reinstatement.

    • Hardy and his attorneys met with representatives of the NFL Players Association on Thursday, USA Today reported, and could file a grievance against the NFL. The Charlotte Observer reported that Hardy will seek prompt reinstatement.

      Hardy has been on the Commissioner's Exempt List since last September due to a domestic-abuse case, and the league is still investigating whether he violated the personal-conduct policy.

      Hardy and his team apparently are hoping Doty's ruling hastens the return of his eligibility. He is scheduled to be a free agent on March 10.

      NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Charlotte Observer that, unlike Peterson, Hardy had not been suspended.

      "He hasn't been disciplined," McCarthy said. "There is nothing for him to seek reinstatement from at this point."

      Citing the Ray Rice arbitration result, which ruled that the league's new, tougher personal-conduct policy could not be applied retroactively, Doty on Thursday granted a petition to vacate the NFL's indefinite suspension of Peterson, who had made a plea deal in a child-abuse case stemming from last spring.

      Peterson will have to go back to arbitration to seek reinstatement by the league. His original appeal was denied by Harold Henderson. In Doty's 16-page ruling Thursday, he said Henderson "disregarded the law of the shop and in doing so failed to meet his duty."

      Hardy was convicted last summer of assaulting and threatening to kill his former girlfriend. He appealed the ruling and was assigned for a jury trial that was to start Feb. 9 in Charlotte, N.C. But the case was dismissed because his accuser could not be found to testify.

      The league has petitioned the court to see the case file as it determines his playing status. In the meantime, the NFL has said Hardy's status with the league "remains unchanged until we fully review the matter."

      Hardy played only one game last season but received $13.1 million from Carolina after being designated with the franchise tag in February. He was placed on the inactive roster in Week 2 and then put on the exempt list before Week 3.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Jaguars release veteran CB Blackmon
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Jacksonville Jaguars released veteran cornerback Will Blackmon on Thursday.

    • Blackmon, 30, started 11 games in two seasons with the Jaguars.

      In 2013, he tallied 40 tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception. Last season, he had 28 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble but missed the final eight games with a broken finger.

      The development of 2014 fourth-round draft pick Aaron Colvin, 2013 seventh-round pick Demetrius McCray and 2013 third-round pick Dwayne Gratz made Blackmon expendable.

      Blackmon, a fourth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2006, has played nine years with the Packers (2006-09), New York Giants (2010-11) and Jaguars, who picked him up after he was one of the final cuts by the Seattle Seahawks in 2013.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Cardinals re-sign OT Sowell
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Arizona Cardinals re-signed offensive tackle Bradley Sowell to a one-year contract Thursday and also signed cornerback Damond Smith.

    • Sowell, a three-year veteran, started 12 games at left tackle in 2013 and moved back to a special-teams and reserve role in 2014.

      Smith was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in final roster cuts last September. In 2013, he was on the practice squad of the B.C. Lions in the Canadian Football League.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Chiefs release TE Fasano
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Kansas City Chiefs released tight end Anthony Fasano on Thursday.

    • The move, first reported by NFL Media's Jeff Darlington and later confirmed by the team, will save the Chiefs close to $2 million under the salary cap. Fasano was scheduled to make $2.8 million in 2015. The Chiefs had around $4.6 million in space before the move.

      Fasano, 30, spent two seasons in Kansas City, catching 48 passes for 426 yards and seven touchdowns.

      A second-round pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2006, Fasano also played in Miami from 2008 to 2012. In nine seasons, he has 253 catches for 2,799 yards and 31 touchdowns.

      Travis Kelce, Kansas City's third-round pick in 2013, emerged in 2014, catching 67 passes for 862 yards and five scores.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Report: Bills close to signing QB McCown
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Buffalo Bills -- short on capable NFL quarterbacks -- reportedly are close to signing 35-year-old Josh McCown.

    • The 12-year veteran, released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Feb. 11, also has talked with the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and Cleveland Browns. But, according to the Buffalo News on Thursday, he could sign with the Bills by Friday.

      McCown, a third-round draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2002, has played for six teams in 13 seasons. He started 11 games for Tampa Bay in 2014, completing 56.3 percent of his passes for 2,206 yards, 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

      The Bills lost veteran Kyle Orton to retirement this offseason, and the only quarterback on the roster at the moment is 2013 first-rounder EJ Manuel.

      At the Combine last week, new coach Rex Ryan was asked about the quarterback position.

      "Obviously that's priority, not just for our team but any team in this league," he said. "But it's a lot easier said than done. ... I'm excited about EJ Manuel, though. He's a young man that has some potential. We'll see how that pans out. We did bring Josh in, so obviously there's some interest there on our part."

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Eagles to release OG Herremans
    By The Sports Xchange

    Offensive guard Todd Herremans is not expected to be unemployed for long after he received his walking papers from the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.

    • Herremans played guard and tackle for the Eagles with 124 career starts in 10 seasons with the Eagles.

      Health will be the main hurlde in Herremans linking up with another team.

      He attempted to play through a biceps injury last season but wound up on injured reserve on Nov. 5.

      Releasing Herremans will pad the Eagles' projected cap space to nearly $27 million.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Report: Steelers will let Worilds hit free agency
    By The Sports Xchange

    Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds will become a free agent next month because the team won't use the transition tag on him, ESPN.com reported Wednesday night.

    • Last spring, the Steelers retained Worilds with the transition tag, and he earned $9,754,000 in 2014. He finished with 7.5 sacks and his first career interception last year. Over the past two seasons, his 15.5 sacks top the team.

      In five seasons with Pittsburgh since he was a second-round pick in 2010 out of Virginia Tech, Worilds, 26, has 25.5 sacks and 204 tackles in 73 games (37 starts).

      The deadline for placing the franchise tag or the transition tag on potential free agents is Monday.

      The "exclusive" franchise tag prohibits negotiations with other teams, and once signed by the player, guarantees a salary figure equal to the top five players at his position.

      The "non-exclusive" franchise tag permits negotiations with other teams until July 15. If the current team declines to match any contract offer from another team to the player, it can receive two first-round draft choices as compensation.

      The transition tag assures a player a one-year deal worth the average of the top-10 salaries at his position.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Broncos, Manning pursue restructured contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Denver Broncos are working on a revised contract with quarterback Peyton Manning before the team announces his return for the 2015 season, according to a report.

    • The delay in officially declaring that Manning will be back next season could be due in part to the the complicated nature of restructuring his deal, the Denver Post reported Wednesday.

      Manning made $20 million in 2013 and also in 2014, but he is scheduled to receive $19 million in each of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

      Before a deal can be finalized, Manning also has to pass a team physical by next Thursday.

      Manning cast some doubt about his return after the Broncos lost to the Indianapolis Colts in the playoffs in January, but he later said he plans to return in 2015, and general manager John Elway and coach Gary Kubiak are expecting him to play. Manning flew to Denver to meet with Elway on Feb. 12.

      According to the Post, the Broncos did not conduct any interview with quarterbacks last week at the NFL Combine, an indication that they believe Manning will be back as well as backups Brock Osweiler and Zac Dysert.

      According to another report, the Broncos and Manning's representatives hope to bring closure to a revised contract by early next week. Manning's current deal is scheduled to become fully guaranteed on March 9, the day before free agency begins in the NFL.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Falcons extend K Bryant's contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    With kicker Matt Bryant set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10, the Atlanta Falcons signed him to a contract extension on Wednesday.

    • Bryant, who turns 40 in May, has proved to be one of the NFL's most consistent kickers the past few seasons, making 144 of 167 field goal attempts (88.6 percent) since he joined the Falcons in 2009 and has become the franchise's second leading scorer with 666 points.

      Last season, Bryant was 29 of 32 on field goal tries and made an NFL-best seven kicks from 50 yards and beyond.

      "Matt has some age in his leg, but again, Matt is one of those guys who takes care of his body," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. "I think he’s still got years left in him.”

      The Falcons also re-signed defensive end Cliff Matthews, fullback Pat DiMarco and wide receiver Nick Williams, but tight end Bear Pascoe will not return.

      Dimitroff told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that the team has had conversations with the agents for linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive tackle Corey Peters and wide receiver Eric Weems.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Bears re-sign CB Hurst
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Demontre Hurst to a two-year contract on Wednesday.

    • An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma in 2013, Hurst was scheduled to become an exclusive-rights free agent in March.

      After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, he played in 15 games, starting two, last season. He had 35 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

      The Bears are under a new general manager, Ryan Pace, and coach, John Fox, who brought in Vic Fangio as his defensive coordinator.

      "It's a blessing to be where I started and get to be with a different set of coaches but still with the same teammates," Hurst told the team's website. "I'm just happy to be back with the guys. They pretty much helped me throughout the season last year to keep growing with them."

      "I've heard so much about (Fox and Fangio)," Hurst said. "They're defensive-minded, great coaches. It's an honor to be with those coaches, get a new defense and try to change things around here and get back to a defensive mindset."

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    NFL notebook: Bush, Jones, Hawk among cuts
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Lions released running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday.

    • Bush, who turns 30 in March, played in just 11 games in 2014, gaining 530 yards from scrimmage.

      The previous year -- his first in Detroit after signing a four-year, $16 million deal -- he rushed for 1,006 yards and four touchdowns while catching 54 passes for 506 yards and three scores.

      The No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft, Bush has rushed for 5,465 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 466 passes for 3,489 yards and 18 touchdowns in nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2006-2010), Miami Dolphins (2011-2012) and Lions.

      He was scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2015. The team will save $1.7 million against the salary cap by releasing him now.

      His departure leaves Joique Bell and Theo Riddick as the Lions' top two backs.

      ---The Baltimore Ravens released wide receiver/kickoff returner Jacoby Jones.

      Jones, 30, signed a four-year, $12 million with the Ravens last offseason and was due to receive $2.5 million in 2015. He made $4.5 million in 2014 and had a $3.375 million salary cap number this year.

      An eight-year NFL veteran, Jones spent three seasons (2012-14) with the Ravens, earning Pro Bowl honors during the team's 2012 Super Bowl campaign.

      In 44 games with Baltimore, he produced a 30.1-yard career kickoff return average, a mark that ranks No. 1 in franchise history. Jones also posted four regular-season kickoff returns for touchdowns and one kickoff return for a score in the Super Bowl. Three of his TD returns covered 108 yards, which tied for the second-longest in NFL history.

      ---The Green Bay Packers released veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk.

      Hawk played with bone spurs in his ankle last season and underwent surgery after the Packers' playoff run ended with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC title game. The league notice of his release on Wednesday indicated he had failed his physical.

      The Packers drafted Hawk with the fifth overall pick in 2006 and he had spent his entire career with them, starting 136 of the 142 regular-season games he played. He started 11 of 13 playoff games as well.

      In 2010, the year the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, he was a Pro Bowl pick.

      Hawk, 31, tallied a franchise-record 1,118 tackles and added 19 sacks and nine interceptions. He led the team in tackles five times (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012-13), which tied Nick Barnett for the franchise record (since 1975).

      --- With kicker Matt Bryant set to become an unrestricted free agent on March 10, the Atlanta Falcons signed him to a contract extension.

      Bryant, who turns 40 in May, has proved to be one of the NFL's most consistent kickers the past few seasons. He has made 144 of 167 field goal attempts (88.6 percent) since he joined the Falcons in 2009 and has become the franchise's second leading scorer with 666 points.

      Last season, Bryant was 29 of 32 on field goal tries and made an NFL-best seven kicks from 50 yards and beyond.

      The Falcons also re-signed defensive end Cliff Matthews, fullback Pat DiMarco and wide receiver Nick Williams, but tight end Bear Pascoe will not return.

      ---The New York Giants released veteran running back Peyton Hillis as they continued clearing out roster and salary cap space.

      With Hillis' release, the Giants will save $945,000 in 2015.

      Hillis was a seven-year veteran who joined the Giants on Oct. 16, 2013, after David Wilson suffered a season-ending neck injury.

      In 2014, Hillis played in the season's first nine games. He left the game on Nov. 9 in Seattle with a concussion and was placed on injured reserve six days later. Hillis finished third on the team with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries. He also caught 10 passes for another 87 yards.

      Hillis, 28, played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City before joining the Giants. His career totals include 696 rushing attempts for 2,832 yards and 23 touchdowns and 134 receptions for 1,050 yards and three scores.

      --- The Chicago Bears signed cornerback Demontre Hurst to a two-year contract.

      An undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma in 2013, Hurst had been an exclusive-rights free agent.

      After spending his rookie season on the practice squad, he played in 15 games, starting two, last season. He made 35 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.

      --- John Idzik, fired by the New York Jets after two failed years as general manager, is expected to join the Jacksonville Jaguars as a salary cap consultant.

      The pending hire was first reported by ESPN on Wednesday, and the Florida Times-Union reported that Idzik will work with director of football administration Tim Walsh and "focus on cap, cash spending, etc."

      Idzik was in charge of contract negotiations with the Seattle Seahawks before the Jets hired him to be their GM in 2013. He and coach Rex Ryan were fired by the Jets after they went 4-12 in 2014 and 12-20 in Idzik's two seasons.

      In Jacksonville, Idzik will be reunited with coach Gus Bradley, who was Seattle's defensive coordinator when Idzik was with the Seahawks.

      ---A new NFL stadium near Los Angeles moved closer to reality when the Inglewood City Council approved plans for an 80,000-seat venue.

      The development plan that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would possibly return an NFL team -- or teams -- to the Los Angeles area for the first time in two decades.

      The Inglewood City Council approved the $2 billion plan with a 5-0 vote late Tuesday night. The vote adopts the plan without calling a public vote.

      "It's the one, best chance for the NFL to come back here," Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said after the four-hour council meeting.

      The plan adds the 80,000 seat, 60-acre stadium to an existing 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space and a hotel.

      ---San Diego Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson announced his retirement on Tuesday after 12 NFL seasons.

      Johnson played in 197 games, including 143 starts. He played his first nine seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, and the last three with the Chargers.

      He had 713 career tackles, 27.5 sacks, 36 tackles for loss and three interceptions. He was selected as the Chargers' most inspirational player each of the past two seasons.

      Johnson appeared in 15 games for the Chargers in 2014, missing just one game, on Sept. 14, so he could be with his wife for the birth of the couple's second child. He had 57 tackles, six tackles for loss and a sack last year.

      ---Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike.

      The sports apparel company owned by Oregon booster Phil Knight plans to make the deal official before the April 30 draft, Sports Business Journal reported.

      Mariota won the 2014 Heisman Trophy and is projected to be the second quarterback drafted in 2015 following Florida State's Jameis Winston, who won the Heisman in 2013.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Reports: Idzik to consult for Jaguars
    By The Sports Xchange

    John Idzik, fired by the New York Jets after two failed years as general manager, is expected to join the Jacksonville Jaguars as a salary cap consultant.

    • The pending hire was first reported by ESPN on Wednesday, and the Florida Times-Union reported that Idzik will work with director of football administration Tim Walsh and "focus on cap, cash spending, etc."

      Idzik was in charge of contract negotiations with the Seattle Seahawks before the Jets hired him to be their GM in 2013. He and coach Rex Ryan were fired by the Jets after they went 4-12 in 2014 and 12-20 in Idzik's two seasons.

      In Jacksonville, Idzik will be reunited with coach Gus Bradley, who was Seattle's defensive coordinator when Idzik was with the Seahawks.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Packers release LB Hawk
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Green Bay Packers released veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk on Wednesday.

    • Hawk played with bone spurs in his ankle last season and underwent surgery after the Packers' playoff run ended with a loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC title game. The league notice of his release on Wednesday indicated he had failed his physical.

      The Packers drafted Hawk with the fifth overall pick in 2006 and he had spent his entire career with them, starting 136 of the 142 regular-season games he played. He started 11 of 13 playoff games as well.

      In 2010, the year the Packers won Super Bowl XLV, he was a Pro Bowl pick.

      Hawk, 31, tallied a franchise-record 1,118 tackles and added 19 sacks and nine interceptions. He led the team in tackles five times (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012-13), which tied Nick Barnett for the franchise record (since 1975).

      "A.J. is a consummate Packer and we are grateful for all that he has given and how he represented the organization over the past nine seasons," general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement. "He was a durable and consistent contributor to our success, but more importantly, he is a great person and teammate. The Packers are grateful for all that he has done on the field and in the community."

      Hawk said, "I spent nine great years in Green Bay. I had awesome teammates and coaches and a great medical staff and equipment staff. Many of them have become my closest friends. We won a ton of games, as well as a Super Bowl, and I loved everything about playing for one of the greatest franchises in all of sports.

      "The fans in Green Bay are incredible. Between playing at Lambeau Field as well as seeing them on the road, they always supported us. I am looking forward to my next opportunity in the NFL, but I'll always cherish my years as a Green Bay Packer."

      The move saves the team $3.5 million in salary cap space. Added to the $3.75 million the team saved by releasing linebacker Brad Jones last week, the Packers have an estimated $33 million under the cap as free agency approaches.

      Among their key pending free agents are wide receiver Randall Cobb, cornerback Tramon Williams and right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Lions release RB Bush
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Lions released running back Reggie Bush on Wednesday.

    • Bush, who turns 30 in March, played in just 11 games in 2014, gaining 530 yards from scrimmage.

      The previous year -- his first in Detroit after signing a four-year, $16 million deal -- he rushed for 1,006 yards and four touchdowns while catching 54 passes for 506 yards and three scores.

      The No. 2 pick in the 2006 draft, Bush has rushed for 5,465 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 466 passes for 3,489 yards and 18 touchdowns in nine seasons with the New Orleans Saints (2006-2010), Miami Dolphins (2011-2012) and Lions.

      He was scheduled to make $3.5 million in 2015. The team will save $1.7 million against the salary cap by releasing him now.

      His departure leaves Joique Bell and Theo Riddick as the Lions' top two backs.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Ravens release WR/KR Jones
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Baltimore Ravens released wide receiver and kickoff returner Jacoby Jones on Wednesday.

    • Jones, 30, signed a four-year, $12 million with the Ravens last offseason and was due to receive $2.5 million in 2015. He made $4.5 in 2014 and had a $3.375 salary cap number this year.

      An eight-year NFL veteran, Jones spent three seasons (2012-14) with the Ravens, earning Pro Bowl honors during the team's 2012 Super Bowl campaign.

      In 44 games with Baltimore, he produced a 30.1-yard career kickoff return average, a mark that ranks No. 1 in franchise history. Jones also posted four regular-season kickoff returns for touchdowns and one kickoff return for a score in the Super Bowl. Three of his TD returns covered 108 yards, which tied for the second-longest in NFL history.

      Jones helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, catching a crucial 70-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco in the final minute of regulation in the AFC divisional playoff game against the Denver Broncos. The Ravens went on to beat the Broncos in overtime.

      Jones then had two touchdowns in the 34-31 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, including a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half -- the longest play in Super Bowl history.

      "We don't win Super Bowl XLVII without Jacoby," general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "You immediately think of the touchdown against Denver in the divisional round and then the big plays in that Super Bowl -- the long touchdown from Joe (Flacco) and the (108-yard) kickoff to open the second half. He also had a big punt return in that game. Jacoby was an outstanding Raven and a good teammate on and off the field. We think he can still play in the NFL, and releasing him now allows him a better opportunity to land with another team."

      Jones also registered a 9.9-yard punt return average while in Baltimore, scoring once on a 63-yard scamper in 2012. In all, he posted six total kick return touchdowns while with the Ravens. Jones also caught 76 passes for 992 yards (13.1 average) and three touchdowns in regular- season play over the past three years.

      "We thank Jacoby for what he did for us," head coach John Harbaugh said. "You think of how many games where his returns or long catches were the difference in winning -- at Pittsburgh, Dallas, the 2012 playoff run to the championships and that great Minnesota game in the snow and ice at M&T Bank Stadium come to mind immediately. He was invaluable to our success. Opponents, especially on special teams, schemed to stop him. What a compliment to him. Jacoby is one of my most favorite players ever to coach, an absolute joy to be around. He's a good person with a good heart."

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    NFL stadium plan near L.A. gets council OK
    By The Sports Xchange

    A new NFL stadium near Los Angeles moved closer to reality when the Inglewood City Council approved plans for an 80,000-seat venue.

    • The development plan that includes St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke would possibly return an NFL team -- or teams -- to the Los Angeles area for the first time in two decades.

      The Inglewood City Council approved the $2 billion plan with a 5-0 vote late Tuesday night. The vote adopts the plan without calling a public vote.

      "It's the one, best chance for the NFL to come back here," Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts said after the four-hour council meeting.

      The plan adds the 80,000 seat, 60-acre stadium to an existing 2009 plan to redevelop the former Hollywood Park racetrack site with homes, offices, stores, parks and open space and a hotel.

      Kroenke is part of the development group that is promoting the project, but a plan is also in the works in St. Louis in hopes of keeping the team.

      A stadium task force appointed by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is working on finalizing details for an approximately $1 billion, 64,000-seat downtown St. Louis stadium to replace the Edward Jones Dome, the Rams' current home.

      "St. Louis is an NFL city and I am committed to keeping it that way," Nixon said last month.

      New urgency for Inglewood came when the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers announced they are teaming up to propose a shared stadium in Carson, Calif., near Los Angeles.

      The teams continue to seek publicly funded stadiums in their current cities, but as a backup plan, they are considering building a $1.7 billion, privately funded stadium in Carson.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Giants release RB Hillis
    By The Sports Xchange

    The New York Giants released veteran running back Peyton Hillis on Wednesday as they continued clearing out roster and salary cap space.

    • With Hillis' release, the Giants save $945,000 in 2015.

      Hillis was a seven-year veteran who joined the Giants on Oct. 16, 2013 after David Wilson suffered a season-ending neck injury.

      In 2014, Hillis played in the season's first nine games. He left the game on Nov. 9 in Seattle with a concussion and was placed on injured reserve six days later. Hillis finished third on the team with 115 rushing yards on 26 carries. He also caught 10 passes for another 87 yards.

      Hillis, 28, played for Denver, Cleveland and Kansas City before joining the Giants. His career totals include 696 rushing attempts for 2,832 yards and 23 touchdowns and 134 receptions for 1,050 yards and three scores.