San Francisco improves receiving corps with Edwards
Braylon Edwards took the field a little late on his first day. No biggie to the San Francisco 49ers.
They have a proven new playmaker among the receivers after signing the wideout to a $3.5 million, one-year contract on Thursday.
Edwards’ agent, Ben Dogra, confirmed the deal to the Associated Press, less than an hour before San Francisco’s free agents took the field for the first time under coach Jim Harbaugh, who, like Edwards, is a former Michigan man.
The Niners announced the acquisition of Edwards shortly after practice began at Santa Clara, Calif., then he emerged from the locker room less than an hour into the workout.
The 28-year-old Edwards made 53 receptions for 904 yards and seven touchdowns last season in his second year with the New York Jets. He spent his first five NFL seasons with Cleveland, making the Pro Bowl in 2007.
Hasselbeck finally breaks in
Matt Hasselbeck had been waiting long enough, so he sprinted onto the field for his first practice with the Tennessee Titans at Nashville, Tenn.
The veteran quarterback signed a three-year deal July 29 and had mostly been watching at training camp, limited to meetings until the collective bargaining agreement was ratified. He had plenty of company with 11 other Titans, including defensive tackle Shaun Smith and tight end Daniel Graham.
Hasselbeck is being counted on to start this season and mentor rookie Jake Locker. He completed four of his first five passes in his first drill at the goal line, three of those to Graham. Hasselbeck drew his first big cheer when he rolled right on play action and hit Jared Cook for a nice completion.
Players ratify 10-year CBA
NFL players ratified a new, 10-year collective bargaining agreement, hours after it was finalized, and two people familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press the contract allows the NFL to become the first major U.S. professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone.
The NFL eventually can test each player annually for HGH, but only after the union is confident in the way the testing and appeals process will work, the people said.
The aim is to have everything worked out in time to start HGH testing by Week 1 of the regular season, but that is not guaranteed.
“We have to see if we agree with the test,” Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “If we agree with the test, then it’s legit. If not, they have to come up with another one.”
Roethlisberger case off to Reno
The civil sexual assault case against Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be held in Reno, the Nevada Supreme Court said in an order rejecting an appeal by the NFL star.
A former VIP casino hostess at Harrah’s accused Roethlisberger of raping her in his penthouse suite in July 2008, when Roethlisberger was at Lake Tahoe for a celebrity golf tournament. The lawsuit also named Harrah’s employees and executives, whom she accuses of orchestrating a cover-up of the incident.
Roethlisberger has denied the allegations. The woman never filed a formal criminal complaint with police.
Around the league
Safety Jordan Babineaux, formerly with Seattle, agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Tennessee Titans and is expected to join his new team today. … The New York Jets released wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery, apparently clearing the way for veteran Derrick Mason to sign with the team. … Free agent Abram Elam agreed to a one-year deal with the Cowboys, giving new Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan a safety who played for him the past two seasons in Cleveland. … A person familiar with the negotiations says the Carolina Panthers agreed to a deal with free-agent receiver Legedu Naanee. Naanee played four seasons for the Chargers after getting drafted out of Boise State in 2007. … Nate Solder’s brief holdout is over. The first-round draft pick out of Colorado signed with New England and joined the Patriots at practice. … Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard left practice because of an apparent injury. Garrard seemed to tweak his back during 11-on-11 drills.