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NFL roundup: Sharper reportedly let go by NFL Network

The SportsXchange

Darren Sharper, who had been suspended by NFL Network in the wake of rape charges in Los Angeles, was fired after he surrendered to authorities on new charges out of New Orleans, according to the New York Daily News.

The former All-Pro safety had been working as an analyst for the league-owned network.

Sharper turned himself in to police in Los Angeles on Thursday, hours after an arrest warrant was issued in New Orleans.

He is accused of raping two women in New Orleans last year.

Sharper was charged with seven felonies in Los Angeles earlier this month related to cases in which he is accused of drugging and raping two women he met at nightclubs. He pleaded not guilty.

Sharper is also being investigated in connection to sexual assault cases in Arizona, Florida and Nevada.

He is being held in Los Angeles without bail. The Miami District Attorney was pushing to raise Sharper's bail to more than $10 million before he turned himself in to Los Angeles police on a warrant for additional rape charges Thursday.

If Sharper is convicted of aggravated rape in Louisiana, he faces life in prison. In California, he faces more than 30 years in state prison.

Sharper, 38, was a six-time All-Pro and selected to five Pro Bowls. He also played in two Super Bowls. He played 14 NFL seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints before retiring in 2010.

---New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard reported to a Lincoln, Neb., jail to start serving a sentence for a 2012 assault on a police officer, according to ESPN.com.

Corrections officers with the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to jail policy, told ESPN that Dennard reported to the facility Saturday morning.

Dennard, 24, will serve at least 35 of the 60-day sentence.

A judge sentenced the former Nebraska star in April to two years' probation, 30 days in jail and community service for assaulting an officer and resisting arrest outside a Lincoln bar just days before the 2012 draft.

The judge later doubled Dennard's jail time after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI, which was dismissed after a plea bargain.

---Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields will test free agency after he and the team were unable to come to an agreement on a new contract, ESPN reported Saturday.

The Packers wanted to re-sign Shields, but a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that the 26-year-old will try the open market after negotiations failed to result in a new deal. ESPN.com reported earlier in the week that talks were "ongoing."

Shields played under a restricted free-agent tender of $2.023 million last season. He tied a career high with four interceptions in 14 games.

At the NFL Scouting Combine last week, general manager Ted Thompson did not say whether the team would use the franchise tag on Shields if a deal is not reached. The deadline to tag players is Monday. The franchise designation for cornerback is expected to be about $11 million.

---Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has made the talk show rounds and even reported to the Texas Rangers' spring training this week, but the Super Bowl winning quarterback said he turned down an offer to compete on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

Wilson told "Access Hollywood" that he has been invited to participate on the show twice.

"I need to focus on my football career right now," Wilson said. "I'm trying to do as much as I can in terms of winning football games for the Seattle Seahawks and our franchise. But I will do it at some point, for sure."

Wilson, 25, said he is a big fan of the show.

"I'm gonna do it at some point," Wilson said. "I'm gonna definitely do it. I love 'Dancing with the Stars.' I love watching it. I love dancing myself. So hopefully I can win it."

Wilson, who said last week he would like to own an NFL franchise someday, also runs a passing academy during the offseason that will travel to six locations this year, including his hometown of Richmond, Va., and Seattle. The camp will also be held in Raleigh, N.C., and Madison, Wis. -- the two places he played in college - as well as Vancouver, B.C., and Los Angeles.

---The Miami Dolphins promoted John Benton to offensive line coach and Jack Bicknell Jr. was named assistant offensive line coach on Saturday.

"With the promotion of John Benton, along with the addition of Jack Bicknell Jr., we have two experienced football coaches who have an impressive history working with and developing quality offensive line units," coach Joe Philbin said in a statement. "They are both excellent teachers and are highly respected within the coaching community. Both coaches will be great assets to the Miami Dolphins organization."

Benton and Bicknell replaced former line coach Jim Turner, who was fired by owner Stephen Ross in the wake of Ted Wells' hazing report.

Benton joined the Dolphins as assistant offensive line coach on Jan. 29. He brings 27 years of coaching experience, which includes 17 years in the college ranks and 10 seasons as an NFL assistant, including the last eight seasons as the Houston Texans offensive line coach.

Prior to joining the Texans in 2006, Benton spent two seasons (2004-05) as the St. Louis Rams' offensive line coach. Benton began his coaching career at Colorado State as a graduate assistant (1987-90) prior to accepting the position of offensive line coach at California University (Pa.) while also serving as the school's recruiting coordinator (1990-94). Benton returned to Colorado State as the offensive line coach in 1995, a position he held until 2000, when he was named the school's co-offensive coordinator from 2000-03.

Bicknell spent the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Prior to joining the Steelers, Bicknell served as the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012. Bicknell began his NFL coaching career with the New York Giants from 2009-11.

Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, Bicknell spent 24 seasons (1985-2008) coaching on the collegiate level, of which eight seasons were spent as the head coach at Louisiana Tech (1999-2006). Bicknell also served as the Bulldogs' offensive line coach from 1997-98.

Bicknell began his coaching career at his alma mater, Boston College, as a graduate assistant from 1985-86. Then, Bicknell spent 10 seasons at New Hampshire as the defensive line (1987-92) and offensive line coach (1993-96). He returned to Boston College as the Eagles' assistant head coach/offensive line coach for two seasons (2007-08).

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