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NFL roundup: Vitt named Saints' acting head coach

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Joe Vitt was named the Saints' acting head coach during Sean Payton's one-year suspension scheduled to begin Monday.

Vitt, who has been suspended for the first six games of the 2012 regular season, will assume the day-to-day head coaching duties through the preseason, and then return to the sideline when he is reinstated.

"We will work through the offseason under this plan and when we get to training camp we will decide on a course of action for the first six weeks of the season, while Joe Vitt is unavailable," said Saints general manager Mickey Loomis. "We are fortunate to have a great veteran coaching staff well equipped to handle this challenge."

Vitt is entering his seventh season with the Saints, coming to the franchise along with Payton as the assistant head coach/linebackers coach. He also filled in during Payton's medical leave last season following a knee injury suffered during a sideline collision.

Payton and Loomis discussed the possibility of having Bill Parcells coach the team in 2012, but Parcells decided he didn't want to return to the sideline. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo are potential candidates to serve as head coach while Vitt serves his suspension.

---The active New York Giants signed cornerback Antwaun Molden, adding another defensive piece to their Super Bowl winning team.

Molden, 27, played for the runner-up New England Patriots last season, appearing in all 19 games (including playoffs), starting twice. The Patriots had claimed the 27-year-old off waivers from the Houston Texans before the season.

"Glad to be a Giant," tweeted Molden, who is entering his fifth NFL season.

---The New York Giants privately worked out Tennessee quarterback Matt Simms and Rutgers wide receiver Mohamed Sanu on Wednesday, according to the Newark Star-Ledger.

Simms, the son of their former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, was given the starting job in 2010, but later lost it. He has started only occasionally at the school. He is drawing attention in large part because of his last name.

Sanu, a Rutgers product ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 on Pro Day, and his stock appears to be rising.

---The Bengals waived cornerback Rico Murray, a second-year NFL player from Kent State. Murray played in the season opener for the Bengals last year, was released, and was re-signed as a practice squad player in postseason.

---The Jets waived center Taylor Boggs, who signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in July 2011 but was placed on injured reserve in August as the team was breaking training camp.

---The NFL announced a record 26 players have accepted invitations to attend the 2012 NFL Draft, with the first round set to kick off at Radio City Music Hall at 8 p.m. ET on April 26.

Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Baylor Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, the projected top two overall picks, will be in attendance. Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill will also be on-hand.

--Defensive end Dave Ball will return to the Titans for a fifth season after agreeing to a one-year deal Thursday.

Ball is unlikely to remain a starter, but has been used at left defensive end and, in the Titans' nickel defense, slides to defensive tackle.

Coach Mike Munchak said the team didn't get enough push from its defensive ends last season, which led the Titans to sign Kamerion Wimbley. Ball, 31, and Karl Klug, impressive as a rookie in 2012, would be a lot for an interior offensive line to handle in pass-rushing situations.

Terms of the deal weren't immediately available.

---Linebacker Keith Rivers was traded by the Bengals to the Giants in exchange for a fifth-round pick in this year's draft.

A first-round pick in 2008, Rivers missed all of last season following wrist surgery in July.

Rivers is expected to play on the weak side, with Michael Boley the likely candidate to move to middle linebacker.

Rivers finishes his Bengals career with 246 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in 35 games.

In addition to a pair of first-round picks, Cincinnati now has three fifth-round picks; their own (No. 156), the Patriots' (166) and the Giants' (167).

--Bradie James agreed to terms with the Houston Texans. Terms of the deal weren't immediately available.

James, 31, played for defensive coordinator Wade Phillips from 2007-10, when Phillips was head coach of the Cowboys. He's likely to begin the season as a backup to Darryl Sharpton and Brian Cushing.

James has 109 career starts and spent all nine previous seasons in his NFL career with the Cowboys.

---The Pittsburgh Steelers re-signed offensive linemen Trai Essex and Doug Legursky on Thursday.

Essex, a third-round pick in 2005, signed a one-year deal and has been valuable because of his versatility. A tackle at Northwestern, Essex began his NFL career outside but has proven he can play every position on the line, including center.

Legursky, who also signed a one-year contract, is a valuable interior lineman with 14 starts at three different positions over the last two seasons.

He battled injuries last season after beginning the season as the Steelers' starting right guard. He switched to left guard after recovering from a shoulder injury only to dislocate a toe, missing three more games. He re-injured his shoulder on Christmas Eve filling in for center Maurkice Pouncey.
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