William Clay Ford was born into a fortune and spent much of his life staying away from fame as he steered the family business and owned an NFL franchise. The man reverently referred to as Mr. Ford, the last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, died Sunday. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement that Ford died of pneumonia at his home in Grosse Pointe. He bought a business of his own, the Lions, a half-century ago.
The Minnesota Vikings have taken another one of their priority free agents off the market before it opens, agreeing to terms on a five-year contract with defensive end Everson Griffen that features $20 million guaranteed and a maximum value of $42.5 million. A person with direct knowledge of the deal confirmed the details to The Associated Press on Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the Vikings haven't announced the deal. The NFL free-agent signing period starts Tuesday. The Vikings also agreed to terms on a one-year contract with middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, according to another person with direct knowledge of that deal who spoke to the AP on Sunday on condition of anonymity because the Vikings haven't confirmed the agreement.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the NFL at the age of 26. Agent Mike McCartney confirmed via Twitter on Sunday that Mendenhall had decided to end his playing career after six NFL seasons, all but one of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mendenhall, the Steelers' first-round draft pick and 23rd overall selection out of Illinois in 2008, gained 4,326 career yards, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
The New York Jets cut ties with their top cornerback - and saved millions of dollars under their salary cap. Antonio Cromartie, who was entering the final season of his four-year deal, was released Sunday. He was scheduled to cost the Jets' cap $14.98 million this season, including a $5 million roster bonus that would have kicked in later this month. There's a chance the Jets could bring back Cromartie at a lesser salary, unless the three-time Pro Bowl selection chooses to explore free agency.
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- - Sam Shields has agreed to re-sign with the Packers, keeping one of the top free-agent cornerbacks this offseason off the market.
San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh is ready for a busy week ahead with the start of free agency and is moving forward from the recent news that the Cleveland Browns inquired about trading for him. Harbaugh, attending the Utah-Stanford men's basketball game Saturday at Maples Pavilion with 5-year-old daughter Addison, has said he is committed to staying put with the 49ers - and to ignoring all the speculation swirling about his future. During halftime of the basketball game, the coach signed autographs and greeted fans at the school where he coached the Stanford football team to a dramatic turnaround over four years before leaving for the NFL. His 49ers lost 23-17 in January's NFC championship game to NFC West rival and eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars and free agent defensive tackle Red Bryant have reached agreement on a four-year contract.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released veteran guard Davin Joseph, a mainstay on their offensive line over the past eight seasons.
A person familiar with the situation says Darren Sproles has been informed that the Saints will release him if they are unable to trade him before free agency begins. New Orleans' decision to part with Sproles is the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves, including Friday's release of receiver Lance Moore. The moves give the Saints more flexibility under the NFL's salary cap as they try to sign free agent tight end Jimmy Graham to an extension. Before the Moore move was announced, Moore all but confirmed it with a note on Twitter, writing, ''Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years.