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NFL notebook: Cowboys bring back LB McClain

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Linebacker Rolando McClain returned to the Dallas Cowboys on a one-year, $3 million deal on Wednesday.

McClain, 25, resurrected his career in 2014, playing 13 games and recording 108 tackles for the Cowboys. He is facing a four-game fine for a substance-abuse violation. Another positive test would mean a four-game suspension.

McClain, who had a competing offer from the New England Patriots, can earn another $1 million in incentives.

To make room for McClain and other moves, such as signing draft picks, the Cowboys created nearly $13 million in salary cap space by restructuring the contract of quarterback Tony Romo, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo Sports.

—Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota plans to skip the draft — following the same likely move of Florida State’s Jameis Winston — and now the two biggest names to enter the league might not be in attendance.

According to ESPN.com, Mariota informed the league he plans to be in Hawaii among his family and the community that helped raise him. Mariota reportedly told the NFL that it is important to him — “both personally and culturally” — to be in Hawaii.

NFLDraftScout.com ranks Mariota as the No. 2 quarterback in the draft behind Winston, the likely No. 1 pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

—The NFL will be allowed to view seven photographs from Greg Hardy’s domestic violence case to help determine whether the former Carolina Panthers defensive end violated the league’s personal conduct policy.

The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office in Charlotte, N.C., said Wednesday it will allow the NFL to see seven photos in the prosecutor’s file from Hardy’s first trial.

The NFL had acquired the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s photos, but the league was missing seven photos that were submitted into evidence not taken by police.

Hardy, who had 15 sacks with the Panthers in 2013 during his Pro Bowl season, remains on the commissioner’s exempt list and could face an NFL suspension of as many as six games.

—The Denver Broncos acquired center Gino Gradkowski in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens involving 2016 draft pick considerations.

According to reports, the Ravens will get Denver’s 2016 fourth-round pick in exchange for Gradkowski and Baltimore’s 2016 fifth-round selection.

The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Gradkowski will rejoin Gary Kubiak, who left the Ravens as offensive coordinator after last season to become the Broncos’ coach. Gradkowski also will be reunited with former Ravens quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison, now the Broncos’ offensive coordinator.

Gradkowski is a fourth-year player who appeared in 40 regular-season games (16 starts) and six playoff contests in three seasons for the Ravens. He was selected by Baltimore in the fourth round of the 2012 draft out of the University of Delaware.

—The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed wide receiver and return specialist Brandon Tate.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Tate is a seventh-year NFL player. He has not missed a game in the last five seasons, including four with the Bengals.

Tate had 17 receptions for 193 yards and one touchdown last season. He also rushed three times for 21 yards, averaged 9.7 yards on 18 punt returns and averaged 22.1 yards on 18 kickoff returns.

—The Houston Texans signed wide receiver Nate Washington.

It is a one-year deal worth $1 million, including $30,000 guaranteed, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Washington, 31, played his first four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and had played the last six with the Tennessee Titans.

His streak of 144 consecutive games played ranks first among active NFL wide receivers.

In his career, Washington has 411 receptions for 6,296 yards and 40 touchdowns.

—The Chicago Bears signed linebacker Sam Acho and re-signed special-teams standout Sherrick McManis.

Both deals are for 2015 only.

A fourth-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2011, Acho appeared in 51 games (32 starts) over four seasons with the Cardinals. He recorded 86 tackles, 13 sacks, 16 tackles for a loss, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions and eight pass breakups. In 2014, he had 31 tackles and one sack in 16 games.

McManis, a cornerback, has played in 62 games with the Houston Texans (2010-11) and Bears (2012-14).

—The New Orleans Saints signed cornerback Kyle Wilson and also extended the contract of guard Jahri Evans through 2017, creating salary cap room for the strapped team.

A first-round pick by the New York Jets in 2010, Wilson is the second new cornerback to join the Saints, along with Brandon Browner.

Wilson, 27, started 28 games over five seasons with the Jets but never ascended to full-time starter.

The Saints had just $850,000 in salary cap space before extending Evans, whose $11 million cap hit is expected to drop. He was due $6.8 million in salary this year.

—The Seattle Seahawks re-signed fullback Will Tukuafu and defensive tackle Jesse Williams.

Tukuafu signed with Seattle on Oct. 29 and played in nine games, also filling as a defensive lineman.

In five NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (2010-13) and Seattle Seahawks, he has played in 29 games.

Williams, a fifth-round draft pick in 2013, spent his first two seasons on injured reserve with knee problems.

—Indianapolis Colts running back Dan “Boom” Herron signed his exclusive-rights free-agent tender.

Herron has recorded 83 rushes for 384 yards and a touchdown, as well as 22 receptions for 230 yards in 22 games (three starts) since being signed by the Colts from the Cincinnati Bengals’ practice squad on Oct. 9, 2013. He also contributed 10 special teams tackles over the past two seasons.

In 2014, Herron played in all 16 games (three starts) and totaled 351 rushing yards, including a 49-yard touchdown, and 173 receiving yards on 21 receptions.

—The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed defensive end Clifton Geathers to a one-year deal.

Geathers was inactive for the final four regular-season games and one playoff game last season after being signed on Dec. 1. A sixth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in 2010, Geathers has played in 37 games.

—Dwight Freeney is suing Bank of America for its alleged role in a fraud scheme that cost the veteran pass rusher $20 million over two years.

In the lawsuit filed in February and announced by Freeney’s attorneys on Tuesday, Freeney claims the bank “aided and abetted” two people who have been convicted of swindling Freeney.

“In 2010, Dwight Freeney authorized Bank of America to manage his assets, including his NFL salary,” Jeffrey B. Isaacs, one of Freeney’s attorneys, said in a statement. “Two years later, Dwight lost more than $20 million because of BofA’s fraud scheme.”

Bank of America has denied any liability.

—With all 32 NFL teams in attendance, the University of Miami had several prospects impress at the Hurricanes’ pro day, most notably senior wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, who timed in the mid-4.2 range on his two 40-yard dash attempts.

Dorsett, who ran a 4.33 at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, showed off his speed and suddenness on the field during positional drills, catching passes from quarterbacks Ryan Williams and Jake Heaps. With special athletic traits, there is a good chance Dorsett is drafted higher than what the tape says, possibly as early as the first round.

Running back Duke Johnson improved his 40-yard dash time (4.48) from the combine (4.54), adding a 34-inch vertical leap.

The workout started positive for linebacker Denzel Perryman with 30 reps on the 225-pound bench press and a 4.68 40 (27 reps and 4.78 at the combine), but a pulled hamstring kept him from running a second 40 and ended his day. Like Dorsett and Johnson, Perryman is in the second-round discussion and a prospect capable of crashing the first-round party.

—The general manager of the Montreal Alouettes said the Canadian Football League team has a 50-50 shot of signing defensive end Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.

Speaking to the Montreal Gazette on Tuesday, Alouettes GM Jim Popp said, “The CFL is cut out perfectly for his style. It would give him the opportunity to do what he does best. His agent knows. They’re ready. They know this (CFL) may be what it is. It’s Michael who has to make the decision — and he might never come.

“The indications were he was ready to come last fall, and he’s still not with us. So I really don’t know. Seriously, I’d say our chances are 50-50.”


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