NFL Notes: Darrelle Revis' assault and robbery charges dismissed

NFL Notes: Darrelle Revis' assault and robbery charges dismissed

PITTSBURGH -- A judge has dismissed all charges against former New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis stemming from a fight last month in Pittsburgh.

Revis had been charged with aggravated assault and other counts in a fight Feb. 12 in which two men were punched and knocked out.

A witness testified Wednesday that he came to Revis' aid during the fight and was responsible for the knockout punches.

Police said the incident began when a man started recording a video of Revis and Revis grabbed his phone and tried to delete it.

The Jets released Revis shortly after the incident and he's yet to sign with another team.

He starred at the University of Pittsburgh before the Jets drafted him 2007.

Patriots: Pro Bowl LB Hightower re-signed
BOSTON -- The Patriots have re-signed Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower.

Hightower's agency, SportsTrust Advisors, tweeted the agreement on Wednesday and his agent Pat Dye, Jr confirmed it. The new pact is for four years and $43.5 million.

It brings back one of the Patriots' biggest free agents, who has helped New England win two Super Bowls in his five NFL seasons. He has 372 tackles and 17 sacks since being a first-round pick out of Alabama in 2012.

He also had one of the biggest plays in last month's Super Bowl. He forced a fumble on a sack on Atlanta's Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter, helping swing the momentum New England's way in its comeback 34-28 overtime victory.

Hightower, 27, took free agent visits with both the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, but will return to captain a defense that allowed a league-low 15.6 points per game during the regular-season in 2016.

Steelers: WR Justin Hunter gets 1-year deal
PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have added depth at wide receiver, signing free agent Justin Hunter on Wednesday to a one-year deal.

Financial details were not disclosed. The 25-year-old Hunter split time between Buffalo and Miami in 2016, catching 10 passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns. Hunter has 78 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns while playing for the Titans, the Bills and the Dolphins.

Pittsburgh is searching for quality behind star wide receiver Antonio Brown. The 6-foot-4 Hunter provides a red zone target the Steelers missed last season with Martavis Bryant serving a drug suspension. Pittsburgh is hopeful Bryant will return in 2017. Hunter joins a mix at receiver that includes Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, Eli Rogers and Demarcus Ayers.

NFL Notes: Steelers sign Antonio Brown, franchise tag Le'Veon Bell

NFL Notes: Steelers sign Antonio Brown, franchise tag Le'Veon Bell

PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers have signed Antonio Brown to a five-year deal that will reportedly make him the highest paid wide receiver in the league.

The Steelers did not release terms of the contract, but multiple media outlets reported that it is technically a four-year extension worth $68 million.

The contract takes Brown, who earned first-team All-Pro honors for the third consecutive year in 2016, through the 2021 season.

Steelers place franchise tag on running back Le'Veon Bell
The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed an exclusive rights franchise tag on Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell, ensuring he'll remain with the team in 2017.

The tag gives the Steelers time to work out a long-term deal with Bell, who could have become a free agent next month. The 25-year-old led the NFL in average yards from scrimmage last season and became the first player in NFL history to average at least 100 yards rushing and 50 yards receiving per game.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said earlier this month the Steelers want to keep Bell with the organization "for life." The team has until July 15 to reach an agreement with Bell on a new contract. If not, he will make the average salary of the top five running backs in the league in 2017 (see full story).

Browns release veteran WR Andrew Hawkins
The Cleveland Browns have released wide receiver Andrew Hawkins after three seasons.

The team terminated Hawkins' contract on Monday, cutting ties with one of its most respected players.

Hawkins had 33 catches for 324 yards and three touchdowns last season for the 1-15 Browns. But his contributions went beyond the field, as Hawkins helped mentor Cleveland's young receiving corps. He was also heavily involved in community activities.

Browns coach Hue Jackson says it's "tough to say goodbye to men like Hawk, that have done everything you've asked of them and gone above and beyond when it comes to leadership." Jackson says Hawkins "was a rock for us last season."

Hawkins signed with the Browns as a free agent in 2014 after three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 30-year-old, who played college ball at Toledo, played in 39 games with Cleveland, recording 123 catches for 1,424 yards and five TDs.

Cardinals: Chandler Jones receives franchise tag
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on outside linebacker Chandler Jones after failing to reach a long-term deal with the player.

The "non-exclusive" tag allows the Cardinals to continue negotiating with Jones through July 15. If another team makes him an offer, Arizona can either match it or receive two first-round draft picks.

Under the franchise tag, Jones would receive about $15 million for the coming season.

Acquired in a trade with New England a year ago, Jones had 11 sacks, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 15 tackles for loss last season

Jones has 25 1-2 sacks over the past two seasons, third-most in the NFL over that span.

Panthers: Horton re-signed
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers are trying their best to keep their defensive line intact, re-signing defensive end Wes Horton to a two-year contract.

Financial terms were not released Monday.

The move comes less than 24 hours after the Panthers re-signed defensive end Mario Addison to a three-year contract on Sunday night. Addison was set to become an unrestricted free agent, while Horton would have been a restricted free agent.

Carolina is likely to use the franchise tag to keep Kawann Short if they can't reach a long-term deal with the defensive tackle before Wednesday's deadline.

The 27-year-old Horton started 10 games last season and had 11 tackles with 2 sacks. Horton has started 27 games since joining the Panthers in 2013 as an undrafted rookie and has 8 career sacks.

NFL Notes: Jets' Revis charged with 4 felonies after fight in Pittsburgh

NFL Notes: Jets' Revis charged with 4 felonies after fight in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has been charged with four first-degree felonies and one misdemeanor after allegedly being involved in a fight with two men last weekend.

According to a docket sheet filed Thursday night, the 31-year-old Revis is facing two counts of aggravated assault, along with charges of robbery, conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and terroristic threats -- a misdemeanor -- after the incident Sunday at 2:43 a.m.

Revis' attorney, Blaine Jones, said in a statement Thursday that Revis was "physically assaulted while at that location by a group of at least five people."

But Pittsburgh police said in a statement that the alleged fight started when a 22-year-old man spotted Revis walking. After Revis confirmed he was the NFL player, the man started recording the interaction. Revis grabbed the phone and tried to delete the video. A 21-year-old man tried to help the other man, but Revis tossed the phone into the road, the report says.

An argument ensued, ending with another man helping Revis, according to the police statement. Police say the two other men claimed they were punched and knocked out.

Steelers: Team already working on Brown’s new deal
PITTSBURGH, P.A. – The Pittsburgh Steelers are following through on their promise to offer All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown a new contract.

General manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday the team has already begun negotiations with Brown, who has one year left on the $42 million deal that began in 2013. The 28-year-old Brown is coming off his fourth straight season of at least 100 receptions.

The Steelers gave Brown an advance on his salary in each of the last two seasons as a pseudo bonus and vowed last summer to prioritize giving him a long-term contract that could keep him with the team for the balance of his career. Colbert and Brown's agent Drew Rosenhaus are already in discussions and the team has no issues about Brown's occasionally eccentric behavior. Brown drew a strong rebuke from head coach Mike Tomlin last month for livestreaming from Pittsburgh's victorious postgame locker room following a playoff win at Kansas City. Brown later apologized for the distraction.

The dust up did nothing to alter Colbert's intentions to keep one of the league's most dynamic players for the long run (see full story).

Dolphins: Team plans to part with LT Albert
DAVIE, Fla. –The Miami Dolphins put on hold their planned release of left tackle Branden Albert when another team expressed interest in a trade shortly before the roster move was completed Thursday.

The Dolphins told Albert he won't be with them for the 2017 season. No trade can be completed until the start of the league year March 9.

The decision to part with Albert clears the way for 2016 first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil to move over from guard.

Miami released four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Mario Williams, defensive tackle Earl Mitchell and cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu. The departure of the four players will save about $20 million in 2017 cap space (see full story).

NFL: QB prospect Kelly barred from combine
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly's past troubles are the reasons the NFL revoked his invitation to the league's scouting combine.

A person familiar with the league's decision told The Associated Press that Kelly is barred from participating in the event because of charges stemming from a fight outside a Buffalo nightclub and for being dismissed by Clemson. Both incidents happened in 2014.

The person spoke to The AP on the condition of anonymity on Thursday because the NFL has not revealed the reason Kelly was not included on the list of participants released by the league a day earlier.

The decision to exclude Kelly is based on a memo the league issued to teams on Jan. 18 outlining reasons draft-eligible prospects will not be permitted to participate in the weeklong combine in Indianapolis that opens Feb. 28. The memo says prospects will be excluded if background checks reveal past convictions for violent or sexual offenses, or if they were dismissed by their school or the NCAA (see full story).