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NFL notebook: Eagles sign Army Ranger to rookie free agent deal

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Monday, May 5, 2014, 9:06 p.m.
 

• The Eagles signed former Army ranger Alejandro Villanueva to a rookie free agent contract. The 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman spent the last four years as an active member of the U.S. Army. He served three tours in Afghanistan and last played football as a wide receiver at Army in 2009. The Eagles scouted Villanueva at a super regional combine in Detroit last month and signed him Monday. Villanueva was recently promoted to captain. The 25-year-old has earned many honors for his service, including the Bronze Star Medal for Valor, among others. Villanueva began his career playing the defensive line, moved to left tackle and finished at wideout his senior year. He grew up in Spain and didn't play football until his family moved to Belgium.

• Free agent defensive end Will Smith signed with the Patriots. The 32-year-old veteran of 10 NFL seasons with New Orleans was a first-round draft pick out of Ohio State in 2004. He's played in 139 NFL games with 120 starts and has 67½ sacks, 20 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. Smith was implicated in the Saints' bounty scandal in 2012 and was suspended for four games, although that ban was dismissed by former commissioner Paul Tagliabue. He spent the 2013 season on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered during training camp. In 2006, Smith made the Pro Bowl and had a career-high 10½ sacks.

• Suspended safety Tanard Jackson will be reinstated on Tuesday, according to a CBSSports.com report. Jackson hasn't played in an NFL game since the 2011 season due to multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy. Jackson, who played five seasons with the Buccaneers with 10 interceptions and five forced fumbles, signed with the Redskins in 2012, but never played for them after being suspended.

• Bengals cornerbackLeon Hall is happy with his recovery from a torn Achilles tendon and expects to be ready for the start of training camp in July.

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