NFL News and Notes

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Texans sign Zabransky
May 10th, 2007

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Houston Texans signed undrafted rookie free agent quarterback Jared Zabransky on Thursday.

Zabransky went 33-5 in three seasons as a starter with Boise State, including a perfect 13-0 campaign last year.

Last season, he was named the Most Valuable Player of the Fiesta Bowl after guiding the Broncos to a thrilling overtime victory over Oklahoma.

The Texans also signed rookie free agent running back Darius Walker of Notre Dame.

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Docs recommend delay of Williams' NFL reinstatement
By Chris Mortensen
ESPN.com

Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams tested positive for marijuana in April and will not be allowed to apply for reinstatement to the NFL until September, sources said.

Williams was suspended last year for violation of the substance abuse policy and was eligible to be reinstated this month, but the league's medical advisors that oversee Williams' personal rehabilitation program recently notified commissioner Roger Goodell of the positive test, sources said.

The doctors also recommended that Williams not be allowed to apply for reinstatement until September, sources said. The commissioner usually adheres to the advice of the medical advisors under the substance abuse policy.

"Falling off the wagon is part of rehab," a source said. "Based on the medical evidence in Ricky's case, the doctors say it's too early to come back. He had the positive test last month. Remember, he's been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder -- that's a real disease and a good percentage of those folks self-medicate with substances like marijuana, often at the moment they are about to have a high level of social interaction."

League spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL would have no comment, as did Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene.

David Cornwell, an attorney who has represented Williams during his substance abuse cases, said he would honor the confidentiality policies in effect with another no comment.

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Eagles release veteran DT Rayburn
May 11th, 2007

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Eagles released veteran defensive tackle Sam Rayburn on Friday.

Rayburn originally signed with the club as a rookie free agent out of Tulsa and spent his first four NFL seasons in Philadelphia, recording 101 tackles and nine sacks in 52 games.

Rayburn was made expendable after Philadelphia signed a pair of defensive tackles in free agency, Montae Reagor and Ian Scott.

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Bengals sign DT Allen
May 14th, 2007

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The Cincinnati Bengals signed defensive tackle Kenderick Allen to a one-year deal on Monday.

Allen was limited to two games for the Green Bay Packers last season after being placed on the Reserve/Injured list with a foot injury.

Allen has played in 31 career games and amassed 52 tackles, three sacks and two fumble recoveries in stints with the Packers and New York Giants.

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Bengals release Sam Adams
May 14th, 2007

Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The Bengals terminated the contract of defensive tackle Sam Adams on Monday.

The 6-3, 350-pounder out of Texas A&M joined the Bengals last season as an unrestricted free agent from Buffalo, and started 16 games, with 25 tackles and two sacks.

Adams, a 13th-year veteran, has 297 tackles and 44 sacks over his career with Seattle, Baltimore, Oakland, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

"Releasing Sam is a very difficult decision," said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, "but the timing is such that it provides Sam the opportunity to obtain a roster spot with another team. Sam has had an outstanding NFL career, and we wish him and his family the very best."

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Texans Wong retires after 9 seasons
AP Sports
May 16, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -- Kailee Wong, a linebacker for the Houston Texans since their inception in 2002, retired Wednesday after nine NFL seasons.

Wong finished his career with a Texans-record 15 sacks.

"I've had a good experience here in Houston," Wong said. "I'm very fond of this place with its fans. I am very honored to be one of the few Texans that have been here since the beginning and been a part of the franchise."

Texans general manager Rick Smith said Wong had discussed the possibility of retiring for several months.

"It was absolutely his decision," Smith said. "He's meant a lot to this organization and ... we certainly wanted to give him every opportunity to be a part of this."

The 30-year-old Wong appeared in 10 games last season after missing more than a year following knee surgery.

"Ultimately, I love this team," Wong said. "My decision has nothing to do with the organization. It truly is a personal decision."

Wong, a second-round pick out of Stanford in 1998, had 12 tackles in 2007.

"It's been a really tough day for me because that kid's special," coach Gary Kubiak said. "That's a big loss. I was really counting on him being part of our football team."

Wong spent his first four seasons in Minnesota, where he had a career-high 112 tackles in 2000. His best season with the Texans came in 2004 when he had 71 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks and three interceptions.

"I wish I could have left this place where we had already been in the playoffs, but I do believe that this coaching staff under coach Kubiak and this team is going to bring the playoffs to this town," Wong said. "I'm remorseful that I'm not going to be part of it, but with where I'm at, it's best for me to move on."

Wong ends his career with 652 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks and six interceptions.

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Bills ink veteran CB Webster
May 21st, 2007

Buffalo, NY (Sports Network) - The Buffalo Bills signed eight-year veteran cornerback Jason Webster on Monday.

The 29-year-old has 11 career interceptions, and has returned two for touchdowns. He picked off two passes last season for the Atlanta Falcons, when he was limited to eight games due to a torn groin muscle. He was released by the club on May 9.

Webster, a second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M by San Francisco in 2000, spent his first four seasons in the league as a 49er, before joining the Falcons prior to the 2004 season.

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Jets sign DE Hicks
May 22nd, 2007

Hempstead, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Jets have signed veteran defensive end Eric Hicks to an undisclosed contract.

Hicks was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this month after playing 128 games in nine seasons with the club.

After signing as a rookie free agent out of Maryland in 1998, Hicks became one of just 64 players to start more than 100 games with the Chiefs. His 44 1/2 career sacks rank fifth in franchise history and his 574 career tackles are 12th in team annals.

The best season of Hicks' career was 2000, when he registered a career-best 14 sacks despite missing three games because of a knee injury. He also had three seasons with at least 90 tackles, including a career-high 118 in 2003.

New York also released defensive lineman Keyonta Marshall.

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Raiders sign WR Taylor, RB Brown
May 22, 2007

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Raiders agreed to contracts Tuesday with free agent wide receiver Travis Taylor and running back Curtis Brown.

Taylor had 57 catches for 651 yards and three touchdowns last season for the Minnesota Vikings before becoming a free agent. A former first-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, Taylor has 311 career receptions for 4,013 yards and 22 touchdowns.

The Raiders were looking for a veteran receiver after trading the disgruntled Randy Moss to New England during last month's NFL draft. The top two receivers on the roster are Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry, but Oakland was looking to add depth.

Earlier this month, Taylor pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct for his role in a scuffle outside a downtown Minneapolis nightclub early on New Year's Day.

Taylor was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $75 in administrative fees, and perform 48 hours of community service. He was also sentenced to 90 days in jail, but he will avoid that as long as he doesn't commit the same or a similar offense in the next year.

Brown was not drafted last month after running for 1,010 yards and seven touchdowns last season at BYU. He also led the Cougars with 62 receptions for 566 yards and three scores.

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Steelers release veteran punter Gardocki
May 23, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran punter Chris Gardocki on Wednesday, less than a month after selecting Baylor punter Daniel Sepulveda in the NFL draft.

Gardocki, a 16-year veteran and Pro-Bowl selection in 1996, never had a punt blocked and averaged a career-best 45.7 yards per kick last season.

The Steelers traded up in the fourth round of last month's draft to take Sepulveda, the first two-time winner of the Ray Guy award as college football's best punter.

Gardocki signed with the Steelers before the 2004 season. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1991 and also played for the Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns.

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Patriots re-sign CB Gay, LB Alexander
May 30, 2007

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -The New England Patriots on Wednesday re-signed free agent linebacker Eric Alexander and restricted free agent cornerback Randall Gay.

Gay, 24, spent most of the 2006 season on injured reserve. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2004. He has 11 career starts with 50 tackles and two interceptions.

Alexander, 25, played in 14 regular-season games and all three playoff games last season, including his first career start in the AFC championship game loss to the Indianapolis Colts. The Patriots signed the 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker as a rookie free agent in 2004.

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Seahawks cut veteran CB Herndon, go with past two top picks
By GREGG BELL, AP Sports Writer
June 1, 2007

SEATTLE (AP) -- Former starting cornerback Kelly Herndon, who is a Super Bowl record holder, was cut by the Seattle Seahawks on Friday.

The Seahawks made the move because they think former first-round draft pick Kelly Jennings is ready to start at the position this season.

Herndon started all 16 regular-season games in 2006 and had a career high-tying 67 tackles before he broke his ankle in the regular-season finale at Tampa Bay. The Seahawks had said Herndon progressed well in his recovery this offseason and that he was likely to be back at practices by training camp.

But he was part of a secondary that was often beaten for big pass plays last season. And when Seattle chose the speedy, smart Jennings at No. 31 overall in the 2006 draft, it was a signal that the 30-year-old Herndon's days starting opposite mainstay cornerback Marcus Trufant would soon end.

Herndon, who started 22 games in two seasons with Seattle after three seasons with Denver, returned an interception 76 yards in the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit, near where he played college football at Toledo.

The Seahawks drafted another cornerback with their top pick in April's draft, Josh Wilson. He's short for the position -- 5 feet 9 -- but also fast. Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell and coach Mike Holmgren have said they expect Wilson to be the fifth, "nickel" defensive back this season while he challenges for what was Herndon's starting job.

Seattle also released tackle Steve Morley, who was signed as a free agent in January.

The team begins an eight-day voluntary workout camp at team headquarters in Kirkland, Wash., on Monday.

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Broncos sign Sam Adams
June 4, 2007

DENVER (AP) -Sam Adams, a 350-pound defensive tackle and three-time Pro Bowl player, signed with the Denver Broncos after spending last season with Cincinnati.

Adams previously played for Buffalo, Oakland, Baltimore and Seattle. He won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens after the 2000 season and played in the title game with Oakland two years later. He was a first-round pick of Seattle in 1994, the eighth overall choice in the draft..

Adams, who will turn 34 this month, is known as a run-stuffer but also has 44 career sacks, fourth among active defensive tackles.

Adams started all 16 games for the Bengals last year with 25 tackles, two sacks for eight yards and one pass breakup.

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Arizona releases Clancy, Brown, Ayanbadejo
June 5, 2007

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -The Arizona Cardinals released defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy, guard Milford Brown and fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo on Tuesday.

All three players were regular contributors to the team last season, but were deemed dispensable by new coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff. The moves save salary space the team can use to sign its rookies.

Clancy started 11 games last season, as did Brown. Both had been signed as free agents.

Clancy will be replaced either by second-round draft pick Alan Branch or second-year player Gabe Watson. Brown lost his job when Reggie Wells was shifted from right tackle back to his more natural left guard spot.

Ayanbadejo, who signed as a free agent in 2004, appeared in 14 games last season. He had nine carries for 37 yards and 17 receptions for 139 yards.

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Niners defensive end Oliver tears knee ligament
June 6, 2007

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -San Francisco 49ers defensive end Melvin Oliver tore a ligament in his right knee during organized team activities this week.

Oliver, a sixth-round pick from LSU in 2006 who started 14 games for the 49ers last season, was injured during a non-contact drill Tuesday. Team doctors discovered the torn medial collateral ligament Wednesday.

Oliver made 50 tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown last season, but his role was expected to diminish this season in San Francisco's 3-4 defensive alignment. The 49ers signed free agent Aubrayo Franklin, and they expect former Eagles defensive lineman Sam Rayburn to sign a one-year contract this weekend.

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Redskins sign CB Butler
June 7, 2007

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -The Washington Redskins signed veteran cornerback Jerametrius Butler on Thursday.

Butler spent six years with the St. Louis Rams, but missed the 2005 season with a knee injury and played sparingly after returning last year.

Butler, a fifth-round draft pick out of Kansas State in 2001, played in 63 games with 31 starts for the Rams. His best season was 2004, when he had five interceptions and 79 tackles.

The Redskins also released defensive back Chip Cox.

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Giants sign former Titans G Piller
June 7, 2007

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Guard Zach Piller signed with the New York Giants on Thursday.
   
Piller started three games last season for the Tennessee Titans before sustaining an ankle injury at Miami on Sept. 24 that kept him out the rest of the season. Tennessee waived Piller in February and he was signed by Detroit in March, but the Lions cut him last month.

In eight seasons with Tennessee, the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder played in 87 games, starting 58. He was the Titans' third-round draft choice in 1999 out of Florida.

Piller adds experience to a Giants offensive line that lost two veterans from last year's unit. In February, former starting left tackle Luke Petitgout was released and backup tackle Bob Whitfield retired.

On Thursday, the Giants also released defensive tackle Sir Henry Anderson and cornerback R.W Cobbs.

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Cowboys release offensive guard Rivera
June 7, 2007

IRVING, Texas (AP) -Three-time Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera was released Thursday after two seasons - and two back operations - with the Dallas Cowboys.

Rivera injured his back while running on a treadmill in March 2005, only a week after signing his $20 million, five-year free agent deal. He had surgery to repair a bulging disc in his lower back, but still started the first 14 games in 2005 before being sidelined by a strained neck.

Last season, Rivera started all 16 regular season games before hurting his back again in the wild card playoff loss at Seattle, which required surgery to repair a herniated disc.

When Rivera signed with the Cowboys, he was coming off three Pro Bowl seasons while blocking for Brett Favre in Green Bay. Rivera played in 106 consecutive games for the Packers, including seven in the playoffs, from 1998-2004.

Rivera was a sixth-round draft pick out of Penn State in 1996 but was inactive for every game that season when Green Bay won the Super Bowl. He spent the next season primarily on special teams before becoming a starter late in the 1998 season.

After getting hurt in 2005, Rivera offered to tear up his Cowboys contract and return his $9 million signing bonus.

The Cowboys were prepared for Rivera's departure, having signed another big-money free agent this spring.

Leonard Davis agreed to a seven-year contract worth nearly $50 million that included a $16 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-6, 372-pound Davis spent his first six seasons in Arizona after being the No. 2 overall pick out of Texas in 2001.

Without Rivera, Davis will almost certainly play right guard instead of tackle for the Cowboys. Dallas had already re-signed right tackle Marc Colombo and has Pro Bowler Flozell Adams at left tackle.

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Saints sign DT Clancy
June 7, 2007

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -Veteran defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints on Thursday after playing for Arizona last year.

The 6-foot-1, 305-pound former Ole Miss lineman has started 26 games over the past two seasons for the Cardinals and the New York Giants.

``He will improve our depth,'' general manager Mickey Loomis said. ``A player of his experience is a welcome addition to our club.''

In 11 games in 2006, Clancy had 37 tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

Clancy, a native of Tuscaloosa, Ala., was Pittsburgh's third-round pick in the 2000 draft and spent his first five seasons with the Steelers.

Meanwhile, the Saints on Thursday released rookie long snapper Pat MacDonald, who signed with the Saints as a free agent in April.

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New England signs WR Jones
June 7, 2007

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -The New England Patriots signed wide receiver C.J. Jones on Thursday after he spent the past two regular seasons out of football.

Jones originally signed with Cleveland in May 2003 as an undrafted free agent from Iowa but spent 11 games on the inactive list and the other five weeks on the practice squad. He was on the Browns' practice squad for the entire 2004 season.

He had 10 catches in NFL Europa in the spring of 2005, but was cut by Cleveland before the 2005 opener and by Seattle in last year's training camp.

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