Vikings re-sign CB/PR Marcus Sherels-
The Minnesota Vikings have re-signed punt returner and cornerback Marcus Sherels.
The team made the announcement Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Sherels is a native of Rochester, Minn., and played in college at the University of Minnesota. He made the Vikings after a tryout in 2010 and has solidified himself as one of the league’s top punt returners while also helping the Vikings pass defense, primarily in nickel situations.
Last season Sherels set a team record with a 15.2-yard per return average on punts, which also ranked second in the NFL. He has returned two punts for touchdowns, including once against the Giants last season. He also intercepted the first pass of his career last season in a game against the Ravens. (Photo: Elsa/Getty Images)
Matthews looks to continue family tradition in NFL-
Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews will be the seventh member of his family to play in the NFL if he is drafted as expected in May.
He knows his football lineage doesn’t hurt him, but hopes that his work as a four-year starter for the Aggies is what really wows teams looking to pick him.
Matthews, the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, did position drills at A&M’s pro day on Wednesday. Afterward, he met with officials from the St. Louis Rams, who have the second overall pick in the draft, according to NFL Network.
Johnny Manziel attended the event, but did not work out. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is scheduled to throw for scouts on March 27. (Photo: Michael Conroy/Associated Press)
Indianapolis re-signs punter Pat McAfee-
Punter Pat McAfee is staying in Indianapolis.
The Colts have agreed to terms for a five-year deal with McAfee on Friday, keeping him off the free-agent market just four days before he could have signed with another team.
McAfee announced the five-year deal while appearing on NFL Network. Terms of the deal weren’t immediately available.
McAfee was Indy’s seventh-round pick in 2009 and has never played for another team. Last year, the Colts tagged him as their franchise player.
He responded by averaging 46.0 yards on 76 punts, including a net average of 38.5, and set a franchise record by pinning 27 punts inside the 20-yard line. He also recorded touchbacks on 41 of 86 kickoffs.
McAfee holds franchise career records for kickoffs, touchbacks and gross punting average. (Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Chris Johnson not cleared to run yet following surgery-
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson underwent January surgery to fix a torn meniscus, the first surgery of his career. He told the Tennessean he’s doing rehab in the pool to strengthen the muscles around his left knee because he’s not yet cleared to run.
However, he said he’d already be running if he’d had the procedure during the season.
"I have never been a guy to sit out when something was hurt," Johnson told paper about his Week 3 injury against the Chargers. "The only way I would sit out is if there was no way possible I could play. If I can work through it, I want to play. I want to be out there to help my team win, and that’s the way it’s always been.
"I am not going to make excuses, but you can talk to anybody who’s had a torn meniscus and they know how it affects you. I’m not going to sit here and tell you if I wouldn’t have had a torn meniscus I would have had 1,600-1,700 rushing yards last year, but my teammates know what I was going through."
As he waits for the Titans to decide if they’ll release him, Johnson called his 2013 season an aberration. He averaged a career-low 3.9 yards per carry.
"I have a whole lot left. I have only played six years in this league. And that is what my focus is on," he told the paper. "My focus is not on whether the Titans are going to let me go and if they’re going to do this or that, my focus is on getting back healthy so I can start working out. And wherever I am this year I’ll be ready to play and ready to help a team win." (Photo: Simon Bruty/Sports Illustrated)
Titans DE Pitoitua agrees to multi-year deal-
Tennessee Titans defensive end Ropati Pitoitua has agreed to terms on a multi-year contract to remain with the team.
Pitoitua had 91 tackles and four sacks last season to set career highs in both categories. He led Titans defensive linemen in tackles.
Pitoitua, who turns 29 next month, was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent Tuesday.
Titans general manager Ruston Webster says in a team release that “Ropati came in last year and filled an important role for us. He has been productive, and with the new coaching staff, we see him filling that same role for us moving forward.”
Pitoitua previously played for the New York Jets (2008-11) and Kansas City (2012). He has 164 tackles and seven sacks in 53 career games. (Photo: Associated Press)
Bills sign S Aaron Williams to four-year extension-
The Buffalo Bills have secured at least one half of their starting safety tandem after signing Aaron Williams to a four-year, $26 million – with $14.625 million guaranteed – contract extension Wednesday, according to several sources.
The extension locks up Williams through 2018, and comes at a time when the Bills risk losing three-time Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd, who is preparing to test free agency next week.
Williams, Buffalo’s second-round pick in the 2011 draft, was entering the final year of his contract. He was rewarded with the extension after successfully making the switch from cornerback to safety last season.
In 14 games last year, Williams had a career-best 82 tackles and tied Byrd for the team lead with four interceptions.
Overall, he has five interceptions and two forced fumbles in 34 career games. The question is whether Williams will continue to develop alongside Byrd.
This week, the Bills decided against applying the franchise tag for a second consecutive year to retain Byrd’s rights, opening the door for the fifth-year player to test free agency on March 11.
The Bills defense is undergoing another offseason change, with Jim Schwartz taking over as coordinator after Mike Pettine left to become the Cleveland Browns head coach. Schwartz has a similar aggressive defensive coaching philosophy, which is expected to ease the transition. (Photo: Bill Wippert/Associated Press)