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NFL notebook: Jadeveon Clowney has pro day at South Carolina

Associated Press

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Jadeveon Clowney believes he’s the NFL’s No. 1 draft pick and says he took a big step toward that goal during South Carolina’s pro day workouts Wednesday.

The 6-foot-5, 266-pound defensive end did position drills in front of dozens of NFL personnel, including Houston coach Bill O’Brien and Jacksonville coach Gus Bradley. Clowney thinks he elevated his elite status during 40 minutes of running through cones, jumping over hurdles and catching tennis balls in workouts he passed on at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

“Yes, I do feel like I should be the first pick,” Clowney said after the session.

Clowney did not lift weights or run the 40-yard dash, standing on his combine showings when he did 21 reps at 225 pounds and clocked a 4.53-second time.

He also felt he eased anyone’s concerns about his work ethic. He was considered by many the No. 1 pick after his sophomore season in 2012, when he had 13 sacks.

A midseason tiff with coach Steve Spurrier — Clowney pulled himself out of the Kentucky game with a rib muscle strain without following proper protocol — intensified questions about Clowney’s work habits and going hard every play.

“I think my work ethic is pretty good. I think I proved that today, but I’ve still got a lot of proving to do,” he said.

Steelers sign receiver

The Pittsburgh Steelers and free-agent wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

Heyward-Bey caught 29 passes for 307 yards and a touchdown in 11 games last season with Indianapolis. He spent the first four seasons of his career in Oakland, catching 140 passes for 2,071 yards and 11 touchdowns in 56 games with the Raiders before being cut last spring.

Heyward-Bey gives the Steelers the deep threat they lacked last season after Mike Wallace left via free agency for Miami. Heyward-Bey is the second wide receiver signed by the Steelers since free agency began. Pittsburgh and former New Orleans wideout Lance Moore agreed to a two-year deal.

From Miami to Miami

Former Miami Hurricanes offensive lineman Jason Fox signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins, and he’s confident he can fill one of their vacancies up front.

The Texas native chose Miami after four injury-hampered seasons with the Detroit Lions.

“I’m very comfortable with South Florida,” he said. “I consider it a second home. But the main reason was the Miami Dolphins. I’m so excited to be here. Their offensive line presents a great opportunity for me to come in and compete.”

The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Fox is expected to contend for playing time at either guard position or right tackle. The Dolphins will likely have new starters at all three spots as they revamp their offensive line.

Fox made only three starts with the Lions, all last year at right tackle. He played in eight games in 2013 and was slowed by groin and knee injuries. He had a foot injury in 2011 and didn’t play all year.

Giants welcome defender

The New York Giants signed former Denver Broncos defensive end Robert Ayers, the 13th veteran the team has signed since free agency started.

Ayers had a career-high 5.5 sacks last season for the AFC champion Broncos. A 2009 first-round draft choice out of Tennessee and a New Jersey native, he is the fourth participant from February’s Super Bowl, and the third from the Broncos, to join the Giants. The others are cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and return specialist Trindon Holliday. Cornerback Walter Thurmond left Seattle to join the Giants.

Ayers played in 72 regular-season games with 27 starts for the Broncos and had 141 tackles (101 solo), 12 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Lineman joins Titans

The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with offensive lineman Chris Spencer on a one-year contract.

Spencer played in all 16 games for the Titans last season and made one start at center on Dec. 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Spencer has played 121 games in his nine-year career. He previously played for the Seattle Seahawks (2005-10) and Chicago Bears (2011-12).


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