Colts sign LB Jackson to $22 million deal
Veteran inside linebacker D’Qwell Jackson signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.
Owner Jim Irsay first announced the signing Thursday morning on his personal Twitter account. The deal includes $11 million guaranteed.
“He is a team-first guy that has been a very consistent producer on the field,” said general manager Ryan Grigson of Jackson, who has six 100-tackle season “The tempo, energy and determination he plays with are right up there with the best in this league. He brings a welcomed element of experience and natural leadership to our team and we are excited to add him to the strong nucleus of linebackers we currently have on our roster.”
The Colts traded their first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns and are expected to be aggressive in free agency.
Devils’ Kovalchuk penalty reduced
The NHL reduced the penalties that the New Jersey Devils were dealt when they signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk in 2010 to what was deemed a cap-circumventing contract, the league announced Thursday.
The Devils will be able to keep their first-round draft pick this year.
Originally New Jersey was fined $3 million, lost a third-round draft pick in 2011 and would also lose a first-round pick.
After electing to keep their pick for the first three years, this was going to be the year the Devils gave up their first-rounder.
Bears part ways with return specialist Hester
LAKE FOREST, IL — The Chicago Bears informed standout return specialist Devin Hester that the team would not be re-signing him for the 2014 season.
Hester, 31, is the NFL’s all-time leader in punt return touchdowns (13) and total kick return touchdowns (18). Including his 108-yard missed field goal return touchdown, Hester’s 19 overall return touchdowns are tied with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders for the most in regular-season history. When adding Hester’s 92-yard kickoff return touchdown to open Super Bowl XLI, his 20 overall return touchdowns (including the postseason) are an NFL record.
Broncos to release CB Bailey
Cornerback Champ Bailey was informed he will be released by the Denver Broncos before he is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 15.
Releasing Bailey would save the Broncos $9 million against the 2014 salary cap and put the veteran on the free agent market for the first time in his 15-year career. Bailey said he was not offered a pay cut or adjusted contract.
Bailey said recently he wanted to return next season, even if that meant a move to safety. The 12-time Pro Bowl selection and seven-time All-Pro had said before his first Super Bowl — a painful 43-8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks — that retirement might be an option.
Bailey will turn 36 in June and appeared in just five regular-season games last season because of injuries.
There had been plenty of conjecture that Bailey might call it a career, but he said last month he has every intention of playing in 2014.
Cardinals add ex-Olympic hurdle champ to staff
The Arizona Cardinals stepped outside the football world when hiring an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Roger Kingdom, a two-time Olympic gold medal hurdler, joined the staff of strength and conditioning coach Buddy Morris on Thursday, the Cardinals announced. Morris was hired Tuesday.
Kingdom raced to gold in the 110-meter hurdles in 1984 at Los Angeles and 1988 at Seoul. He was a football player for the University of Pittsburgh in the 1980s when Morris was the Panthers’ strength coach.
Over the past decade, Kingdom served as the cross country and track and field coach at California University of Pennsylvania.
Kingdom set the world record in the 110-meter hurdles at 12.92 seconds in August 1989 in Zurich, Switzerland, and the mark held up for four years.
In addition to Morris and Kingdom, Pete Alosi remains an assistant strength and conditioning coach on the Cardinals’ staff.