NFL Wire News

NFL roundup: LB McClain’s home destroyed by fire


The Tuscaloosa, Ala., home of Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain was burned to the ground Monday night in what authorities labeled a suspicious fire.

A witness reported seeing a car speeding away from the scene. No one was home and there were no injuries, but Tuscaloosa police said the six-bedroom home listed at $1.5 million will be classified as a total loss.

McClain was a first-round pick but legal entanglements and performance issues pushed him out of football last year. He was born and raised in Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. McClain is making a successful comeback with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014, helping the team fill the void created by linebacker Sean Lee’s season-ending injury.

—General manager Trent Baalke confirmed Monday that he was contacted by the University of Michigan to request an interview with San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh.

“The University of Michigan, in reaching out, did handle it correctly,” Baalke said on 95.7 The Game.

Harbaugh has one year remaining on his contract with the 49ers. After negotiations on an extension stalled last off-season, 49ers president Jed York stated that no further talks would take place until after the 2014 season. The 49ers (7-8) enter the finale on a four-game losing streak and need a win to keep Harbaugh from recording his first losing season as a coach since his second season at Stanford (5-7 in 2008).

—Tyler Thigpen is back with the Cleveland Browns and will likely serve as the backup quarterback to rookie Connor Shaw on Sunday at Baltimore.

Thigpen signed with the Browns in May but was released at the end of training camp on Aug. 12. The 30-year-old journeyman has played for the Dolphins, Chiefs and Bills.

Johnny Manziel (hamstring) and Brian Hoyer (shoulder, biceps) are not likely to be available for Sunday’s game. Manziel suffered a hamstring injury against Carolina and has been ruled out.

—Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel acknowledged Tuesday that he has to take the job more seriously going forward.

The rookie suffered a hamstring injury during last Sunday’s loss to the Carolina Panthers and will miss the season finale on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens. He was unimpressive on the field in limited playing time this season. In two starts and spot duty, he completed just 52.4 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions with no touchdowns.

“I have to take this a lot more seriously. It’s a job for me now,” Manziel said. “I’m not the guy that I’ve always been. I’m not the Johnny Manziel that came in here a year ago.”

—Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show Tuesday that wide receiver Dez Bryant isn’t going anywhere, even if the team has to use the franchise tag to keep him.

Jones told 105.3 The Fan that the Cowboys will attempt to sign Bryant to a long-term deal, but know the franchise tag is their ace in the hole if talks break down.

Bryant leads the NFL with 39 touchdown receptions the last three years. Like NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray, Bryant is a free agent at the end of the 2014 season.

—Washington Redskins rookie outside linebacker Trent Murphy was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Murphy broke his right hand during the first quarter of Saturday’s victory over Philadelphia.

To replace him on the roster, the Redskins signed offensive lineman Rishaw Johnson to the active roster from the New York Giants’ practice squad.

—The San Francisco 49ers signed nose tackle Garrison Smith to the practice squad on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-1, 300-pound Smith most recently was on the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad before he he was released Dec. 16. Before that, the undrafted free agent was on the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad for a week in September but was let go.

—The New England Patriots released defensive back Daxton Swanson and signed defensive lineman Cameron Henderson to the practice squad on Tuesday.

The 23-year-old Swanson has been signed and released three times this season by the Patriots. He also has been with the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers. The 24-year-old Henderson was on the Patriots’ practice squad earlier this year but was released Sept. 16. He also has spent time with the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns.

—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed safety Shelton Johnson to the practice squad on Tuesday.

Johnson was with the Oakland Raiders last season and was activated from the practice squad to play in the final four games, posting one tackle on defense, one fumble recovery and three special-teams tackles. He was released by the Raiders on Aug. 14.

—The Atlanta Falcons placed safety William Moore on injured reserve for the second time this season and signed safety Sean Baker to the active roster and running back Ronnie Wingo to the practice squad on Tuesday.

Moore reinjured his shoulder during last Sunday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was limited to seven games this season because of the recurring shoulder problem. Baker played in four games for the Falcons earlier this season but was waived on Oct. 28 and signed to the practice squad.

—The Minnesota Vikings waived running back Ben Tate.

The fifth-year back was claimed off waivers from the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 14 but managed just 38 yards on 13 carries (2.9 yards per carry) in appearing in three of five games with the Vikings. Tate was signed to a two-year deal by the Browns over the offseason that could have paid him up to $7 million, but steadily lost playing time to rookies Terrence West and Isaiah Crowell in Cleveland.

—The Chicago Bears placed defensive end Willie Young on injured reserve with an Achilles injury and signed defensive end Austen Lane.

Young, in his first season with the Bears, leads the team with a career-high 10 sacks while starting eight of 15 games. He also has 55 tackles and three tackles for loss.

Lane was a fifth-round pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2010 and has 64 tackles, three sacks and 13 quarterback hurries while starting 17 of 30 career games. He signed with the Bears over the offseason but was released at the end of training camp.

—The Miami Dolphins placed offensive lineman Nate Garner on the reserve/non-football injury list and cornerback Jamar Taylor on injured reserve. Center Sam Brenner and defensive tackle Deandre Coleman were promoted from the practice squad to fill their roster spots.

Garner had missed the past four games with migraine-like symptoms. Taylor has missed the past two games with a dislocated shoulder. Brenner was played in seven games for the team last season and had spent all of 2014 on the practice squad after being waived at the end of training camp. Coleman was released by the Dolphins on Oct. 18 and joined the practice squad two days later.

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