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NFL notebook — July 24

Associated Press

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Tennessee Titans linebacker Jonathan “Tig” Willard says he helped rescue a family from a burning vehicle on his way to Tennessee training camp.

The rookie was driving on Interstate 40 Tuesday near Oak Ridge when he noticed a sport utility vehicle smoking. He first told TigerNet.com that he flashed his lights and honked his horn to get the driver to pull over when he saw flames shoot out the back.

“As soon as I got to the car, I saw three small kids in the back seat and a dog,” Willard said Wednesday at the Titans’ headquarters. “So for me, I’m thinking, ‘Hurry up and get the kids. Hurry up and get everybody out and get them away from the car.’

‘‘You could see probably up under the engine, all that was still on fire. So I’m thinking that the car might go up anytime.”

Willard said he handed an infant to the woman before pulling out another child. A second man who had stopped rescued a third child and the family’s dog, and they were able to grab the woman’s purse and a couple bags before the SUV exploded into flames a couple minutes later. He stayed long enough for firefighters to arrive and put out the fire.

Bucs, Williams set on deal

Mike Williams wants to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer for life and has a new contract he hopes will help him achieve that goal.

The fourth-year receiver reported for training camp Wednesday and promptly signed a six-year, $40.25 million deal that he earned by significantly outperforming the one he received as a fourth-round draft pick in 2010.

Playing the side opposite of free-agent acquisition Vincent Jackson, the 26-year-old had 63 catches for 996 yards and nine touchdowns to help Josh Freeman became the first 4,000-yard passer in franchise history.

Jackson, meanwhile, flourished in the first year of a contract worth more than $55 million by leading the Bucs with 72 catches for 1,384 yards and eight touchdowns.

Colts sign first draft pick

Indianapolis Colts first-round draft pick Bjoern Werner, the 24th overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, agreed to a contract in principle, becoming the last of the Colts’ seven draft picks to reach a deal.

A source said Werner agreed to a four-year contract worth $7.896 million and will receive a $4.12 million signing bonus. The source, who requested anonymity because the team had not announced terms of the deal, said $6.4 million of the total is guaranteed.

The total value is a slight increase over the $7.8 million deal David DeCastro, last year’s No. 24 pick, received from Pittsburgh.

Falcons sign rookie corner

Rookie cornerback Desmond Trufant signed a four-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons and was the first player to report for the start of training camp. Trufant’s agent, Doug Hendrickson, said that the contract was for $8.16 million with $4.3 million guaranteed.

Atlanta traded up eight spots in a draft-day deal with St. Louis to select Trufant out of Washington. He is the leading candidate to start at right cornerback but will have to beat out Robert Alford, a second-round pick from Southeastern Louisiana.

Griffin to wait for season

Robert Griffin III says he doesn’t think he’ll be playing in any preseason games.

The Washington Redskins quarterback also said Wednesday that he’ll be limited in practice when the team opens training camp today.

Griffin says he’ll take part in certain drills but will sit out the 11-on-11 plays in the early days.

He was cleared by doctors a few days ago, about 6½ months after he had reconstructive surgery on his right knee.

Griffin says he passed the standard Redskins conditioning test Wednesday and will wear a brace on his knee.

As far as altering his playing style, he says: “I think we can win outside the pocket. You’ve just to be smart about it.” Griffin says maybe that means keeping him in the pocket a little bit more.

Revis cleared to practice

Darrelle Revis is expected on the practice field when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open training camp.

The three-time All-Pro cornerback, who is the centerpiece of an effort to overhaul the NFL’s worst pass defense has been cleared medically to participate in some activities after missing most of last season with the New York Jets following surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.

The Bucs obtained Revis from the Jets in exchange for the 13th overall pick in the 2013 draft, then signed him to a six-year, $96 million contract.

Coach Greg Schiano said Wednesday that Revis “is going to do some stuff, but he isn’t going to do everything,” when practice begins today.

Lions add receiver

The Detroit Lions signed wide receiver Chaz Schilens, who had 28 catches for the New York Jets last season.

The team did not disclose contract terms. Schilens, 27, started six games for the Jets last season.

He spent the previous four years with the Oakland Raiders, the team that drafted him in the seventh round in 2008.

Schilens is an accomplished baseball player. The Detroit Tigers drafted him in the 34th round out of high school.

Belichick talks arrest

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick broke his silence Wednesday on the arrest of Aaron Hernandez, saying the club will learn from “this terrible experience” and it’s time to “move forward.”

Four weeks after the former Patriots tight end was charged with murder and cut by the team, Belichick addressed the issue during a 22-minute news conference.

He expressed sympathy for the family of shooting victim Odin Lloyd, said the in-depth process of studying a player’s background is “far from perfect” but it wouldn’t be “overhauled,” and took responsibility for bringing people to the team.

“The hundreds of players we’ve had through this program in the last 14 years, there’s been a lot of good ones, a lot of real good ones,” he said. “We’ll try to do a good job in bringing people into this organization in the future and try to learn from the mistakes that we’ve made along the way, of which there have been plenty.”


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