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NFL notebook: Bucs sign No. 1 pick Winston


The Sports Xchange

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers already have signed No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston.

General manager Jason Licht announced Friday that Winston signed his rookie contract. The former Florida State quarterback will get $25.35 million over four years, including a $16.7 million signing bonus, according to reports from NFL Media and

“It’s something we wanted to do,” Licht said. “And it was something where they had no reluctancy either. It was fairly smooth. We wanted Jameis to start off on the right foot. There’s no reason to punish Jameis. He’s going to be treated contractually in terms of money just like any other first overall pick.”

Winston said, “I’m glad we got the contract stuff out of the way. I’m just looking forward to getting with the team. We’ve got some great teammates and I’m looking forward to working with the coaching staff, just playing some football. This whole thing has been long for me. But football is what I’m here for and I can’t wait.”

—The Buccaneers and Winston downplayed a photo of the quarterback posing in front of a serving of Alaskan king crab legs as he celebrated being drafted No. 1.

General manager Jason Licht denied a report that the team told Winston to remove the picture. Winston was celebrating with his family and apparently trying to poke some fun at his past, which includes a civil citation for taking crab legs from a Tallahassee, Fla., grocery store.

“That photo, I had to thank Capt. Keith (Colburn) from ‘The Deadliest Catch’ and that was just a thank-you to him,” Winston said. “It was a big moment for my family that we got to share with each other. I would just like to thank him for donating those crab legs to our party.”

“I wasn’t thinking what would come from it,” Winston added. “I was just showing thanks to a dear friend of mine that I was blessed to have him provide the party for my family with the crab legs.

“That’s the only reason I took the picture down. I didn’t want any negative publicity for this day, because it took it away from this whole organization and my family. I never would have expected that.”

—LSU offensive lineman La’el Collins, whose draft destiny is unclear amid a murder investigation, will re-enter the draft in 2016 if he is not selected in the second or third round Friday.

Collins will not sign with a team that drafts him Saturday, his agents told several news outlets Friday.

Collins, one of the top remaining prospects in the NFL draft, is scheduled to talk to police on Monday regarding a murder case in Baton Rouge, La., and his attorney has communicated his situation to security directors of all 32 NFL teams with the hope that they will not remove him from their draft boards, according to reports by NFL Media on Friday.

Police have said Collins is not a suspect in the shooting death of a pregnant woman believed to be his former girlfriend, but NFL teams have been leery of drafting the senior lineman, who originally was considered a possible first-round pick.

Teams hoped to have reports from their security teams before the second round began Friday, NFL Media reported.

—San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers says he is “willing to listen to anything” regarding a contract extension but he didn’t seem committed to remaining the team’s quarterback after 2015.

On Friday, Rivers told U-T San Diego that there are “a lot of moving parts and lots to think about: location, family, team. … All I can say at this point regarding an extension is I’m willing to listen to anything. I’m also willing to play it out. I’m just fired up to be the Chargers’ QB in 2015.”

Rivers, 33, is entering the final season of a six-year, $91.8 million contract that will pay him $15.75 million in 2015.

The Chargers met with Rivers’ agent last week to discuss a new deal, FOX Sports reported Wednesday.

On Friday, general manager Tom Telesco told Alex Flanagan of NFL Network, “We will continue to work on it. He’s our QB. That’s something that has been communicated to him throughout this whole process — not only to him but the whole team. … Our plan is to get him locked up for the long-term future and keep him here as long as we can.”

—Chip Kelly wanted Marcus Mariota and doesn’t deny the Philadelphia Eagles took a swing at the Oregon quarterback recruited to Eugene by Kelly.

But Kelly said the Eagles did not offer veteran players to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Tennessee Titans to move up from No. 20 to get the first or second pick.

NFL Network, which is owned by the league, reported that Kelly’s trade-up offer included two first-round picks and multiple veteran players, including quarterback Sam Bradford and their two best defensive players, Pro Bowl defensive end Fletcher Cox and linebacker Mychal Kendricks.

“It didn’t get very far,” Kelly said. “We didn’t offer any players to anybody. We didn’t get into any discussions. It was just a really steep price. It was like driving into a nice neighborhood and looking at a house, and they tell you the price and you walk away.”

—The Tennessee Titans have been searching for a franchise quarterback for 10 years — ever since they traded Steve McNair to Baltimore in 2005. Marcus Mariota, drafted second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft on Thursday, comes to town as the new face of the franchise.

Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt quickly said Mariota moves to the top of the depth chart ahead of Zach Mettenberger, who did not ask to be traded, despite a report.

“We just talked before I came in (to Thursday’s press conference), so he’s up for the challenge,” general manager Ruston Webster added. “I think one of the things that was important for Zach to understand is that he built up a lot of good equity with what he did. There’s a lot of potential there, and we’re excited about Zach.”

—St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy wants to be traded after the team’s selection of Todd Gurley with the No. 10 pick in the NFL Draft.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday that Stacy has requested to be traded and the Rams are shopping him to other teams.

Stacy, a fifth-round pick in 2013, offered only a one-word response via Twitter on Thursday night: “Yikes.”

Stacy rushed for 973 yards and seven touchdowns on 250 carries in his rookie season in 2013, but he managed just 293 yards and one touchdown on 76 carries last season while making just five starts.

—With Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson seemingly not going anywhere, his agent is now turning his focus to Peterson’s contract.

The Vikings have said they do not intend to trade Peterson, and the first round came and went Thursday without Peterson being dealt.

“One of the things that I appreciate with the Vikings is their resolve to say, ‘We’re not trading him,'” agent Ben Dogra told USA Today. “That tells me they value him not only as a football player but what he’s done for the organization.

“But actions speak louder than words. If … you want to keep him, then show him a commitment to make him retire as a Viking. And I haven’t had that solution.”

Peterson is under contract for three more years, for a total of $46 million. But none of it is guaranteed, which apparently is what Dogra is seeking.

—The Indianapolis Colts released return specialist and wide receiver Josh Cribbs on Friday after one season with the team.

The 10-year NFL veteran played in six games for the Colts last year and had 19 punt returns for 125 yards, 19 kickoff returns for 608 yards and one reception for 8 yards.

The 31-year-old Cribbs spent the first eight years of his career with the Cleveland Browns. In 136 games, Cribbs has returned 222 punts for 2,375 yards and three touchdowns and 426 kickoffs for 11,113 yards and eight touchdowns. He also spent time with the Oakland Raiders and the New York Jets.

—Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle will not face charges following a February domestic disturbance in Kansas, the Wichita city attorney’s office said Friday.

The announcement comes two days after the Sedgwick County District Attorney said there was not sufficient evidence to bring felony charges for domestic violence. The case was referred by the Wichita Police Department to the city prosecutor’s office for potential misdemeanor charges against Randle.

The Feb. 3 incident involved Randle and the mother of his child at a hotel in Wichita. Randle’s former girlfriend, Dalia Jacobs, alleged that he pointed a gun at her car, threatened to “blast the vehicle” and punched out one of the vehicle’s windows. Randle was arrested following a 911 call.

—Chicago Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff was given one year of probation after pleading guilty to a DWI charge.

Ratliff was with the Dallas Cowboys when he was arrested in Grapevine, Texas, in the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2013. He crashed his pickup truck into an 18-wheeler.

According to police, tests determined that Ratliff’s blood-alcohol level was .16 — more than twice the legal limit.

Ratliff appeared in Tarrant County Criminal Court in Fort Worth on Thursday. He was also ordered to pay a $750 fine and must submit to sobriety tests anytime he is asked to by a law enforcement officer during traffic stops.

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