Giants, Bills to battle in HofF game
NEW YORK — The Buffalo Bills and New York Giants will kick off the 2014 NFL preseason in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
The league announced Thursday the matchup for the Aug. 3 game.
The contest will be played a day after the Hall of Fame inducts seven new members, including one each from the Bills and Giants.
Wide receiver Andre Reed played 15 of his 16 seasons with the Bills from 1985-1999. Defensive end Michael Strahan spent his 15-season career with the Giants from 1993-2007, winning a Super Bowl in his final season.
The other inductees are linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones and defensive back Aeneas Williams
This is the first time the Bills and Giants will meet in the Hall of Fame Game.
The Giants played in the first Hall of Fame Game in 1962 and followed with three other trips to Canton to play in the preseason classic (1972, 1985, and 2002). Buffalo will be playing for the fourth time (1974, 1989, and 2009).
Bears, Garza agree to deal
LAKE FOREST, Ill. — The Chicago Bears say they have agreed to a one-year contract with center Roberto Garza.
The Bears had expressed a desire to bring him back, and they announced the move on Thursday.
Garza, who turns 35 in March, was the lone holdover on a line that featured four new starters last season. He has appeared in 194 games and made 164 starts over 13 seasons with the Bears and Atlanta Falcons.
49ers, Daniel Kilgore agree
to 3-year extension
SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco 49ers and offensive lineman Daniel Kilgore have agreed to a three-year contract extension through the 2017 season.
The 49ers announced the deal Thursday.
San Francisco selected Kilgore in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Appalachian State. He has played in 33 regular-season games, plus all six playoff games the last two seasons. He has split time at guard and center.
With veteran center Jonathan Goodwin set to become an unrestricted free agent, Kilgore could take over the starting center role next season. Goodwin has started every game for the 49ers the last three seasons under coach Jim Harbaugh.
Niners general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement that Kilgore’s deal is “another example of our philosophy to extend the contracts of our own young players.”
Ravens release Leach, McClain
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens have terminated the contracts of three-time Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and six-year linebacker Jameel McClain.
Leach and McClain were part of the Super Bowl champions two seasons ago.
Although Leach played in all 16 games in 2013, the Ravens’ ground game struggled and Leach often watched from the sideline while Baltimore opted for a one-back set.
McClain was limited to 10 games last season after missing the first six weeks with a bruised spinal cord.
In making the roster moves Thursday, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said, “There could come a point later on when we would consider bringing back Vonta and Jameel. They are our types of players.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said of both: “We are thankful for all they gave us.”
Redskins re-sign Baker
to 3-yr, $12M deal
ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins have re-signed defensive lineman Chris Baker to a three-year contract with $12 million.
The deal announced Thursday includes $4 million of guaranteed money.
Baker has spent two seasons with the Redskins, playing in 29 games. He started the final three games last season after Stephen Bowen was sidelined with a knee injury.
Baker has played both tackle and end on the defensive line, and he’ll be a possible contender for a regular starting job at end in the team’s 3-4 alignment under new coach Jay Gruden, especially with both Bowen and Adam Carriker recovering from major injuries.
The 26-year-old Baker was undrafted out of Hampton. He played with Denver and Miami before joining the Redskins in 2012.
Eagles agree to
deal with Cooper
PHILADELPHIA — Keeping key parts of their offense together for a long time is clearly a priority for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The NFC East champions agreed to a five-year contract with wide receiver Riley Cooper and a seven-year deal with center Jason Kelce on Thursday. They gave All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters a new five-year deal a day earlier.
“It’s a great reflection of ownership, a credit to Jeffrey Lurie for the flexibility to do what we need to be successful,” general manager Howie Roseman said.
Cooper would’ve become a free agent next month after a breakout season in which he set career highs in receptions (47), yards receiving (835) and touchdowns (eight). His deal is worth $25 million over five years with about $10 million guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the contract who spoke on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t announced.
“Riley is one of the toughest and hardest-working guys in our locker room,” coach Chip Kelly said. “We talk a lot about how players have to make the most of their opportunities, and he did just that last year. He used his size, strength and speed to make a lot of big plays for our team and I’m excited to watch him build upon his success.”
Cooper has come a long way since leaving the Eagles for three days during training camp after using a racial slur.
“I didn’t test free agency because I wanted to be here,” he said. “I wanted to be in Philly from the get-go.”
Kelce was signed through 2016, and the new deal adds four years to his contract. Overall, it’s worth $37.5 million with $13 million guaranteed, according to the person familiar with the deals.
“The numbers just sounded right,” Kelce said.
Kelce was part of an offensive line that helped the Eagles lead the NFL in rushing while setting a franchise record for points (442).
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