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NFL roundup: Vilma, Vitt tesify about bounty program

The SportsXchange

Suspended New Orleans linebacker Jonathan Vilma, two former teammates and Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt testified Thursday that Vilma never pledged money for tackles that hurt opponents.

Vilma wants to be allowed to return to the Saints while his lawsuit against NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell moves forward. Vilma has been suspended for the season for what the league claims was his being a leader in a team's bounty program.

Retired Saints linebacker Troy Evans and defensive back Randall Gay testified on Vilma's behalf.

---Quarterback Peyton Manning took part in his first training camp practice with the Broncos on Thursday, calling it "another step" as he works toward returning to game action for the first time since 2010.

Manning said he is passed the emotional part of leaving the Colts and is focused solely on getting prepared for the season.

"I haven't gotten too nostalgic about it," he said. "I'm glad to be here, glad to be playing with some really good guys and coaches that I enjoy. They really made me feel welcome, and I look forward to going to work with them and trying to be the best teammate I can be. There are a lot of guys in here that you like going to work with every day, and that makes it fun."

--- The Minnesota Vikings signed offensive tackle Matt Kalil to a four-year contract worth $20 million, beating the team's 4 p.m. CT deadline for players to report to training camp in Mankato.

Kalil, the fourth pick in the 2012 draft, is likely to start at left tackle. He was the first offensive lineman drafted in '12. The Vikings traded from the No. 3 spot in a deal that enabled the Cleveland Browns to draft Trent Richardson.

--- The NFL launched an initiative to expand services to current and former players to improve its resources in the areas of physical and mental health, family safety and the transition into their post-NFL life.

The program, announced Thursday in New York by commissioner Roger Goodell, is known as NFL Total Wellness. Former cornerback Troy Vincent, vice president of player engagement, and Robert Gulliver, a Cornell graduate in his second year as executive vice president of human resources, will establish an advisory board that will include former players, coaches and medical professionals.

---The Kansas City Chiefs signed defensive tackle Dontari Poe, the team's first-round pick in the 2012 draft.

Poe signed a four-year contract in time to take part in the team's first workout Friday. His deal includes a fifth-year club option, as is the norm for first-round picks.

---Is Charles Woodson a safety or isn't he?

The offseason storyline circling the 15-year veteran cornerback was front and center at the open of Packers' training camp when Woodson lined up at ... strong safety.

Woodson, who turns 36 in October, will still play cornerback and might even slide to free safety and slide closer to the line as a "rover" or safety-linebacker hybrid.

Woodson said he was willing to play "anywhere" after the Packers drafted cornerback Casey Hayward in the second round.

---The Jets activated free safety LaRon Landry from the physically unable to perform list, clearing the free-agent addition to participate in his first practice with the team Friday.

Landry signed to a one-year contract in March and was cleared to rehab away from the team facility. He was battling chronic Achilles issues and has only done individual sideline work and conditioning drills since joining the Jets.

The Jets also added former Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell and drafted versatile safety Josh Bush in the sixth round. Coach Rex Ryan praised Bush for his performance in the team's June minicamp.

---The Colts agreed to a four-year contract with second-round pick Coby Fleener.

A suburban Chicago product, Fleener landed close to home and also reunites with his quarterback at Stanford, No. 1 pick Andrew Luck, with the Colts.

---Cornerback Darrelle Revis reported to Jets' headquarters Thursday as veterans were scheduled for physicals and conditioning tests.

Revis hinted at a contract holdout with $13.5 million remaining on his current deal, which expires after the 2013 season. That deal was signed after Revis held out for all of August and into September. The 36-day holdout ended with a four-year, $46 million deal that includes a clause prohibiting the Jets from using the franchise designation to retain Revis after next season.

---The Seahawks signed center Max Unger to a long-term contract extension. Terms were not disclosed, but the deal makes Unger one of the NFL's highest-paid centers.

General manager John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll worked to fortify an offensive line that was a weakness when they arrived together in Seattle. All five starting offensive linemen are now signed through at least 2013.

---The waiting game is expected to continue in Jacksonville. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not report to training camp while extending his contract-related standoff with management.

General manager Gene Smith and owner Shad Khan have stated the team's position. The expectation is Jones-Drew will play the final two years under the terms of his existing deal. Jones-Drew is scheduled to earn $9.4 million through 2013. He's in the fourth year of a five-year, $31 million contract signed in 2008.

Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing last season with 1,606 yards.

The Jaguars can fine him $30,000 each day he misses during training camp.

---The Texans agreed to a one-year contract with wide receiver Bryant Johnson, who'll add needed veteran depth in his second season with the franchise.

Johnson, 31, played in all 16 games, mostly on special teams, for the Texans in 2011. He was an unrestricted free agent but went unsigned through the offseason.

---Defensive tackle Brian Price was acquired by the Bears, who sent an undisclosed 2013 draft pick to Tampa Bay.

Price was a second-round pick out of UCLA in 2010, and started 14 of the 20 games he has appeared in. However, Price has also struggled with leg injuries and was involved in a fight with Bucs rookie safety Mark Barron in a team meeting room in June.

Price is coming off a strong 2011 season in which he had 24 tackles and three sacks while starting 14 of 14 games for Tampa Bay.

---Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson said he's about "90 percent" health wise, but said he doesn't feel any issues with his surgically-repaired groin and is full go for training camp.

"I never really say a hundred (percent) because nobody is perfect here. But I feel good about it," Johnson said.

--- Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith has pledged to donate $100,000 to assist with the medical bills incurred by victims of last week's theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. The money will be given to the city and distributed to victims' families in need.

---Guard Eric Steinbach signed with the Dolphins.

He missed the entire 2011 season because of a back injury but had been a mainstay at left guard for the Browns since he was drafted 33rd overall out of Iowa in 2003.

Prior to missing last season, Steinbach missed only two games between 2005 and 2010. He was released by Cleveland in March.

---Veteran offensive guard Leonard Davis signed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.

Davis had a meet-and-greet with coach Jim Harbaugh in March but wasn't signed because of a foot injury.

Davis, 33, signed with Detroit in November 2011 and was on the active roster for weeks 15-17 but did not play in any games.

---Eric LeGrand, the former Rutgers running back who suffered a spinal cord injury in 2010 that left him paralyzed from the waist down, announced his retirement on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' website Thursday.

He signed with the Bucs in May, gave a speech to the team in June and was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY awards earlier this month. The Bucs' head coach is former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano.

---Safety Dashon Goldson signed his one-year, $6.212 million franchise tag tender Thursday, the training camp reporting day for the 49ers' veterans.

The sides were unable to agree on a multi-year deal by the deadline earlier this month, although Goldson had said he was "honored" to be given the team's franchise tag and was prepared to play for the one-year tender if a long-term contract wasn't reached.

The 49ers reportedly offered Goldson a five-year, $25 million deal last offseason that he rejected.

---Offensive tackle Tony Ugoh signed with the Chiefs.

A second-round pick by Indianapolis in 2007, Ugoh spent his first three NFL seasons with the Colts. After spending part of 2010 with Detroit, he appeared in three games for the Giants last season.

The sixth-year veteran has played in 40 career games with 28 starts, and will battle for a backup role behind starters Branden Albert and Eric Winston.

---Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list.

Britt had reconstructive right knee surgery in October 2011 after tearing the ACL and MCL in September against the Broncos. Britt had a "routine clean-up" in May, according to general manager Ruston Webster, and an arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in June.

Britt must pass a physical to be activated from the PUP list. If he's still on the list at the start of the regular season, he'll be ineligible to play for the first six weeks of the season.

---The Philadelphia Eagles announced that as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, the team has hired six interns to the 2012 coaching staff. Correll Buckhalter, William Fuller, Don Holmes, Greg Lewis, Corey Peoples, and Montae Reagor will assist the Eagles staff throughout training camp and the preseason. Five of the six coaching interns spent
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