NFL Roundup: Hernandez probe continues, Smith re-signs with 49ers

The SportsXchange

Police have yet to rule out New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez as a suspect in a homicide investigation in North Attleboro, Mass., WBZ-TV reported.

State police detectives returned Wednesday morning to Hernandez's home, near an industrial park where the body of a jogger was found Monday, and no one answered the door.

Later in the day, a report surfaced that Hernancez was being sued by a Connecticut man who alleges that Hernandez shot him in the face in February in Miami.

Hernandez reportedly is not cooperating with investigators in the homicide case. He was seen leaving the home with a woman earlier Wednesday in a white Audi SUV. He did not stop to offer a comment to reporters.

Police searched Hernandez's home for several hours on Tuesday night and left with a large box. Two men leaving the home were stopped in the driveway and questioned by police. Officers also searched the industrial park area for evidence.

The body was identified Wednesday as 27-year-old Odin Lloyd, a linebacker for the semi-pro Boston Bandits. There were indications that he was shot and the body dumped in the industrial park. Lloyd had practiced with the team on Saturday.

There was an additional report from WBZ-TV that Lloyd was dating the sister of Shayanna Jenkins, Hernandez's girlfriend and mother of his child, at the time of Lloyd's death.

The link to Hernandez in the case was first reported to be a rented Chevrolet Suburban with Rhode Island license plates that is registered to Enterprise Rental Car, according to reports. Investigators were searching the vehicle on Wednesday to check for fingerprints and clues.

Neither Hernandez's representatives, Athletes First agency, or his mother would comment on the case when contacted by the television station.

In the Florida lawsuit, Alexander S. Bradley alleged that Hernandez pointed a gun at him and it discharged while they rode in a vehicle, striking Bradley in the face and resulting in the loss of his right eye and other facial injuries that required surgery. According to the suit, the two men had argued outside a strip club

Bradley is seeking $100,000 in damages. The suit was filed earlier this month and withdrawn four days later, but USA Today reported that there was a paperwork error and it would be refiled Wednesday.

Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery in April but is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in July.

---The San Francisco 49ers signed veteran defensive end Justin Smith to a two-year contract extension that likely will take him to the end of his NFL career.

The final salary numbers were not known, but Smith was scheduled to make $7.5 million in base salary in the final year of his contract.

The 33-year-old Smith underwent surgery to repair his partially torn triceps after the 49ers' loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII. He played in 14 regular-season games in 2012 and had 66 tackles, including three sacks.

---Denver Broncos center J.D. Walton is likely to miss several months recovering from an infection in his surgically repaired left ankle.

Walton had surgery to remove stabilizing hardware in his ankle on Monday, when doctors discovered the significant setback. He could return in October, but the Broncos are reportedly bracing for the possibility he'll miss the entire season.

Walton, who played in all but one snap of his first 37 career games, was injured in Denver's 37-6 victory over the Raiders on Sept. 30. He missed the remainder of the 2012 season with a fracture and dislocation of the joint.

During minicamp, offensive guard Manny Ramirez was the primary center. The Broncos drafted Philip Blake in the fourth round of the 2012 draft but wasn't active in the first two games last season and then was placed on injured reserve with a thumb injury on Sept. 21. Free agent Dan Koppen, who replaced Walton last season, remains unsigned but could get a call based on the latest diagnosis. Koppen will be 34 in September.

Longtime Peyton Manning teammate Jeff Saturday, released by the Green Bay Packers at the end of the 2012 season, might also make sense because of his relationship with Manning and experience in the up-tempo offense the Broncos employ. However, Saturday lost his starting spot in Green Bay last season and at 38, is well beyond his physical peak.

The Broncos have been down a similar path with right guard Chris Kuper, who had an almost identical injury in 2011.

---Offensive tackle Barry Richardson agreed to a contract with the Tennessee Titans. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Richardson, 27, has started every game the past three seasons, including all 16 in 2012 with the St. Louis Rams. Richardson was the starting right tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2010 and '11.

The Titans were thin at the offensive tackle positions behind starters and 2005 draft picks David Stewart and Michael Roos. Former seventh-round Mike Otto (left tackle) is Roos' primary backup and 2011 sixth-round pick Byron Stingley is backup up Stewart on the right side.

Roos (back) and Stewart (leg) worked out only in individual drills during the Titans' minicamp but should be fine for the start of training camp in July.

---Former New York Giants and Jets punter Dave Jennings died Wednesday morning at his home, the Giants announced.

Jennings was 61. He had suffered from Parkinson's disease since 1996.

The four-time Pro Bowl punter worked as a radio broadcaster for the Giants and Jets after his playing career ended.

Jennings was with the Giants for 11 seasons and then played three years for the Jets. He made the Pro Bowl after the 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982 seasons.

In 2011, Jennings was inducted into the Giants' Ring of Honor. He holds franchise records for punts (931) and yards (38,792). His best season average was 44.8 yards per punt in 1980.

Jennings went to St. Lawrence University as a basketball player and ended up walking on the football team as a punter. He earned all-conference recognition three times and received an invitation to attend training camp with the Giants in 1974.
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