Dolphins welcome back Taylor for third stint
At the start of a news conference hailing Jason Taylor’s return to the Miami Dolphins, he introduced himself as a third-round draft pick from Akron – which he was in 1997.
Fourteen years later, Taylor seeks a few more sacks and that elusive first Super Bowl ring. He’ll try for them in the uniform he has worn most of his career.
The NFL’s active career sacks leader, who became a free agent when the New York Jets released him in March, signed Monday to rejoin the Dolphins.
Taylor, who turns 37 on Sept. 1, spent his first 11 seasons with the Dolphins and still lives in South Florida. He played for Washington in 2008, then rejoined the Dolphins in 2009, and last year he had hoped for an offer to remain in Miami.
The Taylor-Dolphins reunion was announced on the Facebook page for his foundation. Hours later, he held a news conference at the team’s stadium before an evening practice there, and he’ll join workouts later this week.
Miami coach Tony Sparano said Taylor will provide locker-room leadership and be used primarily at outside linebacker in pass-rush situations, which was his role with the Jets. That means spelling second-year pro Koa Misi and lining up on the flank opposite Cameron Wake, who had a breakout season with 14 sacks last year.
When the NFL lockout ended last week, Taylor said, he spoke with the Jets first and then Miami. His desire to keep playing is driven in large part by wanting to reach the Super Bowl.
Conveniently, the Dolphins’ No. 99 was unassigned.
Roethlisberger will restructure deal
Ben Roethlisberger is doing his part to help the Pittsburgh Steelers get under the salary cap.
The veteran quarterback has agreed to restructure his contract to help the defending AFC champions get under the $120.4 million cap.
Ryan Tollner, Roethlisberger’s agent, said the team approached the two-time Super Bowl winner about the deal, but added it would not affect the length or the money involved in the eight-year, $102 million deal the quarterback signed in 2008.
The Steelers entered training camp about $10 million over the salary cap.
Roethlisberger would likely not sign any paperwork until Thursday.
Under the new collective bargaining rules, players who sign contracts are not permitted to practice with the team until Aug. 4. Tollner said teams typically move money from a player’s base pay to their signing bonus to keep it from counting against the cap.
OL Light back with Patriots for two years
The New England Patriots have agreed to terms with offensive lineman Matt Light on a contract that would keep him protecting Tom Brady’s blind side for two more years, according to a person familiar with the deal.
Light would earn up to $12 million, with $7 million guaranteed, the person told the AP on the condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.
A Patriots spokesman did not respond to an inquiry about Light. Nick Caserio, the director of player personnel, said Sunday that “conversations are ongoing.”
A three-time Pro Bowl selection in 10 seasons with the Patriots – including three Super Bowl victories – Light started every game last season at left tackle. Brady called Light “one of my favorite players that I’ve ever played with.”
Raiders agree to deal with LB Wimbley
The Oakland Raiders once again spent big to lock up one of their own key players, signing a five-year, $48 million contract with linebacker Kamerion Wimbley that gives the team more room under the salary cap and Wimbley $29 million in guarantees.
Wimbley had been set to play for the $11.3 million franchise tag tender before agreeing to the long-term deal that makes him one of the highest-paid linebackers in the game. Now he knows he will have to deal with the pressure that comes with his lofty salary.
Wimbley entered the NFL with high expectations after being drafted 13th overall by the Cleveland Browns in 2006.
He led Oakland with nine sacks last season and is being counted on for even more this year.
Free agent Bradshaw rejoins the Giants
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw is returning to the New York Giants.
The free agent agreed to contract terms with the Giants, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced.
Contract terms were not immediately available.
Drew Rosenhaus, Bradshaw’s agent, did not return an email from the AP seeking comment. The Giants refused to comment because the deal was not signed.
Bradshaw took over as the Giants’ starting halfback last season and rushed for a career-best 1,235 yards and eight touchdowns. He had problems with fumbles, and Brandon Jacobs started the next five games. Bradshaw started the season finale against Washington.
Bradshaw lost six fumbles total last season.