NFL NOTES: Rams sign CB Manning Jr.

St. Louis signed cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. to a one-year contract and released defensive back Eric Bassey. Manning gives the Rams badly needed depth at cornerback after preseason injuries to starter Fakhir Brown and rookie Justin King. In five NFL seasons, Manning has 14 interceptions, 233 tackles and 33 passes defended.

BRONCOS: Denver claimed hard-hitting safety Calvin Lowry off waivers from Tennessee and is trying to trade nickel back Domonique Foxworth. Foxworth, a fourth-year pro who had been splitting time with Karl Paymah, was told to go home and await word on his destination. An 11-game starter last season, Lowry was a surprise cut by the Titans, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2006 draft out of Penn State. He has 62 tackles, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups in two NFL seasons.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay signed tackle James Lee and released cornerback Eugene Wilson. Lee, an undrafted rookie, was released by the Cleveland Browns on Saturday. Wilson signed with the Bucs as a free agent in March after spending five seasons with the New England Patriots.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville receiver Jerry Porter practiced for the first time in nearly three months, calling it a “small step in the big scheme of things.” Porter, who signed a six-year, $30 million contract in February to be the team’s go-to receiver, had surgery to repair a torn hamstring in July. He missed all of training camp and the preseason, and coach Jack Del Rio said he wanted him to have two weeks of practice before playing in a game.

Jaguars running back Fred Taylor apologized to team owner Wayne Weaver for his arrest on a disorderly conduct charge over the weekend, said the whole incident was “very, very petty,” and hinted that he was provoked by police. Taylor even refused to characterize it as an arrest, calling it a citation. Taylor was cited outside a Miami Beach nightclub Saturday around 4 a.m. According to his attorney, Taylor was getting into his car as police arrived at the club. Officers ordered him to put his hands on the hood, then patted him down and searched his vehicle for firearms and drugs with a K-9 unit.

JETS: Mike Westhoff is back running New York’s special teams unit. The popular and fiery 60-year-old coach stepped aside after last season to have a ninth operation on his left leg, which has been ravaged by bone cancer. After recently getting a clean bill of health, Westhoff was welcomed back Monday to the coaching staff.

PACKERS: Green Bay will start the regular season against the Minnesota Vikings next Monday night with a new punter, a new holder and a new long snapper. General manager Ted Thompson cut punter Jon Ryan in favor of ex-Washington Redskins punter Derrick Frost and chose Brett Goode to be the team’s long snapper. Only second-year placekicker Mason Crosby remains in the kicking game from the group that went through training camp. A new long snapper was unavoidable after rookie J.J. Jansen was placed on season-ending injured reserve Saturday with a knee injury.

PANTHERS: Carolina signed Mark Jones, two days after he was released by San Diego. As Ryne Robinson remains sidelined indefinitely with a sprained left knee, Jones will likely return kickoffs and punts Sunday against his former team, the Chargers. The Panthers released fellow receiver Dominique Thompson to make room on the 53-man regular-season roster for Jones.

PATRIOTS: New England signed two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Deltha O’Neal. Monday’s move came two days after O’Neal was released by the Cincinnati Bengals and cornerback Fernando Bryant, an exhibition-season starter, was released by the Patriots. O’Neal spent the past four seasons with Cincinnati after playing his first four with Denver. He had 31 interceptions for three touchdowns in 116 games, including 75 starts.

RAIDERS: Oakland agreed to terms on a one-year contract with discarded receiver Ashley Lelie in hopes that the former first-round pick can regain his form. He had been cut by the San Francisco 49ers on Saturday after being slowed all preseason by a calf injury.

RAVENS: Rookie quarterback Joe Flacco will start in the season opener Sunday for Baltimore, which awarded the job to its top draft pick because he’s the healthiest player at the position. Flacco, the 18th pick overall, will launch his NFL career against the Cincinnati Bengals. There is a chance the two other quarterbacks competing for the job, Troy Smith and Kyle Boller, both will not be available as backups.

NFL: Players will wear a uniform patch this season to honor NFL Players’ Association leader Gene Upshaw, who died Aug. 20. The league announced the patch will have the initials GU and the number 63, which he wore while playing for the Oakland Raiders. Upshaw died of pancreatic cancer just three days after he was diagnosed.

Associated Press

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