FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Ask Osi Umenyiora about playing in Atlanta and the Falcons' new defensive end smiles instantly.
Thursday was another jam-packed day in the NFL as veterans on 14 teams reported to training camp and some teams hit the field for the first time as a group. Here's a quick roundup of today's comings and goings in the NFL: • The Arizona Cardinals are nearing a two-year deal with veteran defensive end John Abraham, who was released by the Atlanta Falcons earlier this offseason for salary cap purposes . Abraham, 35, had 10 sacks and six forced fumbles for the Falcons last season and will provide the Cardinals with a little more pressure off the edge. • To handle pressure off the edge, the Cardinals reached a one-year deal with veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston. Like Abraham, Winston was released earlier this offseason by the Kansas City Chiefs due to financial reasons. On the field, Winston is a valuable player who will upgrade a Cardinals' offensive line that has struggled to protect their quarterbacks in recent seasons. The only downside to the signing is that it could hinder the development of Bobby Massie, a 2012 fourth-round pick who could end up as the No. 3 tackle behind Winston and left tackle Levi Brown. To make room for Abraham and Winston, the Cardinals waived fourth-year linebacker O'Brien Schofield and placed sixth-round wide receiver Ryan Swope on the "reserve/retired" list. Swope, 22, caught 252 passes for 3,117 yards and 24 touchdowns during his 51-game career at Texas A&M, but sustained multiple concussions that negatively impacted his draft stock and have ultimately ended his NFL career before it began. • Thursday was a busy day for draftee signings. The Minnesota Vikings were the busiest of the bunch, signing first-round picks Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarelle Patterson to four-year contracts, getting them in the fold just in time for the start of training camp. The Oakland Raiders signed cornerback D.J. Hayden, the No. 12 overall pick in the draft who received a unique contract structure , perhaps due to the rookie coming off surgery to remove scar tissue after undergoing abdominal surgery last year. Green Bay Packers linebacker Datone Jones, New York Giants first-round offensive tackle Justin Pugh and fourth-round quarterback Ryan Nassib, New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and Denver Broncos defensive tackle Sylvester Williams also signed their four-year contracts. Here's a look at the four draft picks who haven't yet signed their rookie contracts:
July 17 (The Sports Xchange) - Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said Wednesday that the 2013 season will definitely be his last as an active player in the NFL. "Without a doubt, yes. Without question," Gonzalez said in an interview on The NFL Network. "I told everybody I was going to retire last year, and I really meant that when I was saying that last year." But Gonzalez had a change of heart and decided to play one more season. Hence, he'll be back in the Falcons' training camp next week. ...
Atlanta Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez said Wednesday that the 2013 season will definitely be his last as an active player in the NFL.
The NFL season is approaching and Shutdown Corner is previewing all 32 teams, counting down our power rankings with one team a day until No. 1 is unveiled on Aug. 4, when the preseason kicks off with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. Go to our Facebook page after you read the preview for all airing of grievances; we’ll have a daily discussion there to go with each preview. On the day after the Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2012 regular season at 2-14, the worst regular season record in franchise history, owner Shad Khan began to make significant changes to the organization. Khan fired general manager Gene Smith and the process of finding a replacement ended with Atlanta Falcons director of player personnel David Caldwell, a highly-sought after talent evaluator who turned down a lucrative offer from the New York Jets to take the Jaguars' job. Caldwell fired head coach Mike Mularkey and bucked the trend when he hired Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley for the head coaching vacancy. Of the eight head coaches hired in 2013, Bradley is the only coach with a background on the defensive side of the ball. Hiring Bradley was a solid move — he had a major impact on the rebuilding of the Seahawks into one of the most physical defenses in the league — but came as a surprise as he and Caldwell had no previous relationship and the Jaguars have had one of the worst offenses in the league over the past two seasons. Caldwell does not appear to be under any delusions about the Jaguars' prospects for the 2013 season. The team was quiet in free agency and is looking to rebuild through the draft. That's the smart path, but it will require a bit of patience from the fan base.
COMMENTARY | The Atlanta Falcons finished the 2012 season 11-yards shy of a trip to the Super Bowl. After coming so close last season, as well as enjoying the longest sustained success in franchise history while under the Mike Smith/Thomas Dimitroff regime, expectations in Atlanta are at an all-time high.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The defensive line was an offseason priority for the Atlanta Falcons.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is still trying to gauge what his team will look like this season.
The New York Giants made a change at the tight end position on Thursday. The Giants signed former Kentucky quarterback-turned-tight end Morgan Newton after having him in for a tryout during the team’s rookie mini-camp last week. Newton replaces former Atlanta Falcons tight end Michael Palmer, who signed with the team last week. Palmer and…
As former Atlanta Falcons defensive end John Abraham turned 35 years old Monday, the former first-round pick not only retracted mention of retirement but was attempting to sign with the Tennessee Titans.

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