ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension with running back Devonta Freeman.
The deal was announced Wednesday, on the eve of the team's preseason opener at Miami.
Terms haven't been released, but the deal is expected to make Freeman one of the NFL's highest-paid running backs.
During his three seasons with the Falcons, the Miami native has racked up 2,383 rushing yards, including back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons in 2015 and 2016. His 3,175 total yards over the past two seasons ranks second in the NFL, behind teammate Julio Jones.
Freeman's agent first raised the prospect of a lucrative extension before the Falcons played in the Super Bowl. While negotiations carried on, the running back said he had no intention of holding out because he didn't want to be a distraction (see full story).
Patriots: Team sends DT Vince Wilfork into retirement
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For Vince Wilfork, retirement means a chance to sleep late, go fishing or just hang around without needing to be someplace special.
"I'm finally calling it quits from a game that I truly, truly, truly love, a game that I was committed to, a game that I was dedicated to, a game that I gave all to," the former Patriots and Texans defensive tackle said Wednesday after a news conference in New England to confirm his long-rumored retirement.
"For 20 years I've been on a schedule," he said. "I just want to relax. I just want to do something I haven't had a chance to do in 20 years."
A five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion in New England, Wilfork returned to Gillette Stadium for a ceremony to retire as a Patriot. He and owner Robert Kraft signed a contract, and Wilfork was re-presented with a No. 75 jersey like the one he got when he was picked 21st overall in the 2004 draft.
The Patriots were defending Super Bowl champions then. Wilfork took that as a challenge, and he helped them claim the NFL title in his rookie year and again in 2014, his last year in New England (see full story).
Jets: Temple product Anderson leading WR group
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Pop quiz: Name the New York Jets' No. 1 wide receiver.
For the casual football fan, that question might leave them a bit stumped. After all, Brandon Marshall, of course, is a member of the Giants and Eric Decker is in Tennessee with the Titans -- both offseason cuts as the Jets slashed several high-priced veterans.
Quincy Enunwa, who has all of 80 career receptions, was expected to be at the top of New York's depth chart until a neck injury last Saturday night knocked him out for the season.
Give up? Well, the answer is: Robby Anderson.
Yep, that Robby Anderson who was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Temple last year and made the Jets with an outstanding training camp. He had 42 catches for 587 yards and two TDs last season, and now suddenly finds himself the leader of a revamped and alarmingly inexperienced group of wide receivers (see full story).
NFL: League plans to hire 24 full-time officials
NEW YORK -- The NFL will hire up to 24 full-time game officials.
The league will begin hiring between 21 and 24 full-time officials from among the current roster of 124 officials for this season. The decision was announced Wednesday.
"We believe this is a great development for NFL officiating overall and ultimately the quality of our game," said NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent. "We share a common goal, which is to make our game as great as it can possibly be, and look forward to working together on this new effort."
Full-time officials will be hired at each of the seven officiating positions and may serve on each of the 17 officiating crews. They will work collaboratively with their assigned crews, the league officiating staff and the NFL's football-related committees during the offseason.
"NFL officials are always looking to improve, and we believe that additional time, particularly in the offseason, will be positive," said NFL Referees Association executive director Scott Green. "We're looking forward to working together with the league on this effort" (see full story).