NFL Notes: Seahawks, RB Eddie Lacy agree to 1-year deal

NFL Notes: Seahawks, RB Eddie Lacy agree to 1-year deal

RENTON, Wash. -- The Seattle Seahawks are hoping Eddie Lacy can be motivated by a one-year contract to rediscover the form that made him the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The Seahawks and Lacy agreed to terms on a one-year deal Tuesday, providing Seattle a big body for a run game that was once the best in football but lagged last season following the retirement of Marshawn Lynch.

"I like that we're bringing in a big, tough guy that's going to send a message the way he plays the game," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said in an interview with KIRO-AM, the Seahawks flagship station, on Tuesday.

Lacy was the top offensive rookie four years ago when he rushed for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also ran for more than 1,100 yards in 2014, but has since been slowed by injuries and lost favor with Packers coach Mike McCarthy at times.

Last season, Lacy played in only five games, sidelined by ankle problems, and finished with only 360 yards rushing and no touchdowns. Weight has also been an issue for Lacy, but Carroll said he would expect the running back to play in the range of 240-250 pounds.

"He's a big guy. There is nothing wrong with that," Carroll said. "There will be a real concerted effort to make sure he's at his very best. This is a hard time for him because he's working some rehab right now, but he is well aware of our expectations and the standards that we are setting" (see full story).

Saints: Patriots’ Butler set to visit with team
Patriots restricted free agent cornerback Malcolm Butler has scheduled a visit with the Saints at the team's headquarters on Thursday.

New Orleans coach Sean Payton confirmed the visit Tuesday, telling The Associated Press he holds Butler in high regard and is eager to meet with him.

If the Saints sign the 27-year-old Butler to an offer, New England has the option to match it. The Patriots could also let Butler go and then receive the Saints' 11th overall draft pick this year in return.

Butler, a two-year starter, is best known for his late, goal-line interception of Seattle's Russell Wilson in the 2015 Super Bowl. He intercepted four passes last season and broke up 17. He also was credited with 63 solo or assisted tackles, including a sack.

Payton and Patriots coach Bill Belichick are friends. They not only have had their teams practice together several times during recent preseasons, but also completed a high-profile trade last week that sent receiver Brandin Cooks and a fourth-round pick to New England in exchange for the Patriots' first round choice -- 32nd overall -- and a third rounder (see full story).

Steelers: Team meets with LB Hightower, no deal reached
PITTSBURGH -- Coveted free agent linebacker Dont'a Hightower's tour hit Pittsburgh on Tuesday, but Hightower left the team's facility without signing a deal.

The team announced it hosted him after he spent Monday getting wooed by the New York Jets. Hightower spent most of the day at the team's headquarters, but left early in the evening without a deal imminent.

Hightower has helped the New England Patriots win a pair of Super Bowls in his five seasons with the team and is probably the best inside linebacker on the open market. The Steelers are searching for a replacement for veteran Lawrence Timmons, who signed with Miami last week after spending a productive decade with Pittsburgh.

Hightower has 372 tackles and 17 sacks since New England selected him in the first round of the 2012 draft. He provided one of the signature moments during New England's furious second-half rally against Atlanta in the Super Bowl, forcing Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan's fumble in the fourth quarter, helping swing the momentum to the Patriots for good on their way to a comeback 34-28 overtime victory.

The Patriots are still interested in bringing back Hightower and they have more money to spend than the Steelers. New England is more than $33 million under the cap, while the Steelers have about $18 million to spend after signing wide receiver Antonio Brown to a new five-year contract and applying the franchise tag to star running back Le'Veon Bell (see full story).

NFL Notes: Dez Bryant throws huge BBQ, then reportedly late for camp

USA Today Images

NFL Notes: Dez Bryant throws huge BBQ, then reportedly late for camp

LUFKIN, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant returned to his East Texas hometown to thank supporters with free barbecue that drew several thousand fans to a park.

Bryant was in Lufkin on Thursday afternoon for the outdoor event that included games and a chance to meet the NFL star as temperatures reached the 90s. Lufkin police spokeswoman Jessica Pebsworth on Friday estimated the crowd at about 3,000 and said two people were treated for heat exhaustion.

Pebsworth says everyone was excited to see Bryant and he was a great host.

Bryant says he decided a couple of days earlier to throw the catered event in Lufkin, a city of about 36,000 located 110 miles (177 kilometers) northeast of Houston.

The Cowboys open camp next week in Oxnard, California.

However, it appears that generosity caused Bryant to be a bit tardy. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Bryant was late on Friday to report for camp with the Cowboys’ other veterans.

Bengals: Jones suspended 1 game for altercation
CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones has been suspended for the regular-season opener against Baltimore for his role in an altercation at a downtown hotel earlier this year.

Jones had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from the January incident, the latest in a history of off-the-field legal issues for the NFL veteran. The NFL said Friday that the suspension was for a violation of its personal conduct policy.

Police said Jones kicked and used head-butting as he was arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel employee. He was arrested outside the hotel, and police video showed him protesting that he hadn't done anything to deserve it, loudly demanding, "Let me go!" and at times struggling with officers while yelling obscene insults. Video of Jones in the back of a police cruiser at one point showed him telling an officer: "I hope you die tomorrow."

Jones apologized in court for his behavior and specifically to Cincinnati police Sgt. Jarrod Cotton. His attorneys said he had been receiving treatment, including for anger management (see full story).

Chiefs: QB Mahomes inks rookie deal
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Chiefs have signed quarterback Patrick Mahomes to a four-year rookie contract.

Kansas City traded its first- and third-round picks this year and its first-round pick next year to the Buffalo Bills to grab the Texas Tech quarterback with the 10th overall selection.

It was the first time Kansas City had taken a quarterback in the first round since Todd Blackledge in 1983.

The Chiefs sent the No. 27 and No. 91 overall picks in this year's draft to Buffalo in order to acquire a successor to Alex Smith. The veteran starter has two years remaining on his contract, though Smith becomes inexpensive to release after next season.

Jets: Top pick Adams signs 4-year contract
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets on Friday signed safety Jamal Adams of LSU, the sixth overall pick in the draft.

Adams gets a four-year deal worth about $22 million. As with all first-round contracts under the current labor agreement, the Jets have a fifth-year option.

All nine of the Jets' selections in April's draft have signed.

A versatile defender, Adams had one interception and four passes defensed as a junior last season, committing zero penalties as he rarely was thrown at. For his three seasons at the school, he played in 37 games (26 starts) with five interceptions, 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one recovery, 209 tackles and 17 1-2 tackles for loss.

Adams is expected to be a starter this season for the rebuilding Jets.

Eagles gearing up for live periods, added competition in training camp

Eagles gearing up for live periods, added competition in training camp

This spring at the NovaCare Complex, Eagles practices had a new look.
While the team still did all the normal position and team drills, the Eagles also had several "competition periods" during which head coach Doug Pederson would split the team onto two fields and work on certain situations like fourth down, red zone or two-point plays.
"As they say, iron sharpens iron," Pederson said in a pre-training camp media availability. "Your senses are on high alert, your juices are flowing, it makes you better as a football team. And within the umbrella of competition, it's also situational football."
Pederson has had competitions in the weight room, races throughout the spring and even a pop-a-shot video game appeared in the locker room this spring. Competition all around.
But the real competition has been on the field.
"It takes the grind of practice away and it makes it fun for them," Pederson said. "And it's just a short little blast. It's five or six plays. You saw us split the field this spring, which was new. And it helps develop our younger guys and it helps develop our younger coaches. The coaching staffs were split too. I think it's all just beneficial in development."
Pederson splits the field during these periods, sending the first teams to face off against each other under the direction of the Eagles' position coaches. The second and third teams take to a different field under the direction of assistant position coaches.
The idea came to Pederson last season and he began these competition periods about halfway through the season; these periods had nothing to specifically do with the game plan for the week.
They carried over into this spring and the Eagles will continue to use them during training camp this summer. Pederson is planning on five days in camp with those competition periods on split fields.
"It's working on a situation of football that is non-related to the game plan that week, offensively and defensively, but just being able to work a third-down scenario or a red-zone scenario during the regular season because those are critical areas we need to get better at as a team," the head coach said. "Third down needs to get better on offense and we need to get better in the red zone."
These competition periods are important to Pederson and he said he hasn't been a part of a team that has used them before. In fact, when asked about the ways he's separated himself from his mentor Andy Reid, these periods were one of the things he brought up.
One area where Pederson hasn't separated from Reid is the inclusion of live hitting during training camp. While the days of two-a-days with live periods during camp are long gone, Pederson still thinks it's important for his players to hit during training camp.
Pederson is planning on having three days with live tackling in camp, including two before the first preseason game in Green Bay on Aug. 10. In this respect, this training camp will be a lot like last year's, although it seemed like Pederson backed off the intensity once Jordan Matthews was hit in the knee by then-rookie Jalen Mills.
Still, last year hasn't stopped Pederson from wanting his team to hit.
"Injuries are a part of the game and it's unfortunate, but I feel it's important that guys hit. It's a physical game," Pederson said. "It's hard sometimes to just show up on game day and put the pads on and go hit if you haven't prepared for it. You obviously have to be smarter in the regular season, obviously not hitting during the season, but three live days I think is plenty. ... It gets them into that physical mentality you want, especially in training camp."