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NFL roundup: Jones-Drew ends holdout

The SportsXchange

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew ended his holdout by reporting to the team Sunday.

Jones-Drew has been seeking to rework his contract, which has two years remaining. He is due to earn $4.45 million this season and $4.45 in 2013, but NFL.com reported that no changes were made.

The holdout reportedly cost him more than $1 million in fines, but it is likely the fines will be forgiven or reduced.

Coach Mike Mularkey, who said last week that Rashad Jennings will likely start the season opener, met with Jones-Drew on Sunday morning.

"I had a really good visit this morning with Maurice and I welcomed him in," Mularkey said. "It was good to finally speak face-to-face. I can tell he's ready to go, so we'll be working with him to get him up to speed as quickly as possible.

"It's great to be able to proceed with our preparation for the opener and the season beyond with Maurice as part of the plans."

Jennings, who is expected to start the season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 9, tweeted: "Just shared some love with @Jones_Drew32 in the locker room. Glad to see you back - Let's work brah!"

---San Diego Chargers starting offensive tackle Jared Gaither will not play in the team's season opener against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 9, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported Sunday.

Gaither has not played or practice since having back spasms in late July. He had signed a four-year, $24.5 million contract that guarantees him $9 million.

Undrafted rookie Mike Harris will start in Gaither's place.

---The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed running back D.J. Ware a day after he was cut by the New York Giants, the team announced Saturday.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger reported that Ware chose the Buccaneers over the Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks.

---Former New England Patriots safety James Ihedigbo announced Sunday that he has signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Ihedigbo, who was released by New England on Friday, started 12 games for the Patriots last year and contributed on special teams. He also spent three years with the New York Jets.

----Despite reports last week that Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten was unlikely to play in Wednesday's regular-season opener against the New York Giants, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said Sunday he expects Witten to play.

Witten has missed most of the preseason with a lacerated spleen, but Romo told reporters, according to NFL.com, "It's exciting to know we're probably going to have him. That's important."

Witten will have a medical examination in Dallas on Tuesday before the Cowboys decide whether Witten will play Wednesday, according to the New York Post.

--- The St. Louis Rams made several roster moves on Sunday, including releasing guard Quinn Ojinnaka, who had been starting.

The Rams also waived tight end Michael Hoomanwanui, who caught a touchdown pass in Thursday's preseason game, and claimed offensive tackle Ty Nsekhe from Colts and guard Shelley Smith from Texans.

---After two days of negotiations failed to provide a new collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its locked-out referees, the NFLRA issued a terse response to a league memo distributed to all 32 teams on Sunday.

The NFLRA statement claimed the NFL memo was leaked to select media with "false and misleading information."

At issue is a memo distributed by NFL vice president and general counsel Jeff Pash that was published in full by multiple outlets.

In the memo, Pash states that union president Jeff Triplette "quantified the economic gap between the parties as approximately $4 million per year for compensation and retirement benefits combined, and was told by Commissioner Roger Goodell that the deal could be closed by "agreeing to provide an additional $1 million per year, which could be used to improve either base compensation or our proposal regarding retirement benefits."

The memo also claimed that the current offer from the NFL would increase the average compensation for a game official from $149,000 to $189,000 by 2018, and outlined the league's position on a new retirement plan.

---The Carolina Panthers welcomes wide receiver Steve Smith and middle linebacker Jon Beason back to practice on Sunday, the Charlotte Observer reported.

Smith was out for two weeks with a foot infection but the injury was not considered serious. Beason was out for much of training camp with a hamstring injury.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said both players should be ready to play next Sunday's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

---The Detroit Lions signed free agent cornerback Drayton Florence on Sunday, multiple sources are reporting.

The Detroit Free Press first reported the signing after a tweet from Lions wide receiver Kassim Osgood.

Florence, 31, spent the last three seasons with the Buffalo Bills, where he started 45 games and made 168 tackles and seven interceptions.

He was released by the Denver Broncos on Friday.

Florence may start alongside Chris Houston as the team lost Eric Wright to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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