NFL notebook: Ravens sign ex-Panther WR Smith
Steve Smith is eager to continue his NFL career in Baltimore, where he's just a short flight from his permanent home in Charlotte.
The longtime Panthers standout wide receiver didn't waste time finding a new home, signing a three-year contract with the Ravens about 24 hours after being released by Carolina. The deal is worth a reported $11 million.
The 34-year-old Smith was released by the Panthers after 13 seasons. He should provide a solid weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco.
“This has been an organization with a history of giving veteran players a chance and meshing them with younger players,” Smith said on a conference call.
Smith ranks 19th in the NFL in career receptions. He caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. Smith is Carolina's all-time leader in receptions (836), yards receiving (12,197) and touchdowns (67).
“We have added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “He's a proven player who has performed the best in big games and biggest situations. He adds toughness to our offense.”
Hall of Fame QB Kelly's cancer back
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly's cancer has returned.
The Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo said in a statement that the cancer was found when the former Buffalo Bills star came in for follow-up testing after having oral surgery to remove cancerous cells last year.
Kelly, an East Brady native, spent 11 seasons with the Bills before retiring following the 1996 season. He has since made Buffalo his home.
Bengals extend coach Lewis' contract
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis signed a one-year contract extension, keeping him on the job through the 2015 season.
Lewis has led the Bengals to three straight playoff berths, a first for the franchise that began play in 1968. But the Bengals are 0-5 in the playoffs under Lewis.
His 90 career victories are the most in Bengals history by 26 over Sam Wyche (64). His record is 90-85-1 in the regular season.
Lewis, 55, says Friday: “I'm blessed to continue to do a job I love here in Cincinnati. ... I truly appreciate the commitment by our management to continue to enable us to build an NFL championship team.”
Lions keep TE Pettigrew after he tests market
The Lions re-signed tight end Brandon Pettigrew, keeping one of Matthew Stafford's top targets and a player who can potentially make defenses regret focusing too much on Calvin Johnson.
Pettigrew will get a $16 million, four-year contract with half of the money guaranteed, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke to The Associated Press.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Pettigrew has 284 receptions for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns in five NFL seasons. He is coming off a relatively disappointing season, which probably cost him some money on the market.
Veteran CB Finnegan signs with Dolphins
Veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan signed a contract with the Dolphins, and he'll try to mount a comeback from an injury-plagued 2013.
Finnegan, who was an All-Pro in 2008, started only five games last year for the St. Louis Rams. He was sidelined by a hamstring injury and then an eye injury that required surgery.
In Miami, Finnegan is expected to complete for playing time with Jamar Taylor and Will Davis, who saw little action as rookies last season. The Dolphins are looking for a starter opposite Brent Grimes, a Pro Bowl cornerback re-signed last week to a $32 million, four-year deal.
Finnegan, a former seventh-round draft pick, spent his first six NFL seasons with Tennessee.
Around the league
The Packers re-signed defensive tackle B.J. Raji to a one-year deal worth a reported $4 million. … The Bears agreed to a one-year contract with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman. … Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was released by the Titans, who signed Charlie Whitehurst to back up Jake Locker. … The Vikings re-signed receiver Jerome Simpson.
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