EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A pair of former Carolina Panthers – wide receiver Louis Murphy and linebacker Dan Connor – signed with the New York Giants on Saturday as free agents.
Murphy played with Carolina last season and caught 25 passes, including one for a touchdown. He played his first three seasons with Oakland, catching 90 passes and six TDs.
Connor was with the Panthers from 2008-2011 and played last season for the Dallas Cowboys.
Connor can play both inside and outside, so his signing casts some doubt on whether New York will bring back middle linebacker Chase Blackburn, who is a free agent.
Stallworth injured when balloon hits power lines
Free agent Donte Stallworth was hospitalized Saturday in Miami with serious burns after the hot air balloon carrying him and two other people crashed into power lines above South Florida, his agent said.
The 10-year NFL veteran won’t suffer any permanent damage from the accident in Homestead, according to Drew Rosenhaus.
“He’s going to be OK. He has some burns, but he’s going to be fine,” Rosenhaus said. “He will be able to continue his NFL career. The injuries are not to the extent they will jeopardize his career.”
The basket carrying three hot air balloon passengers crashed into the power lines while airborne, according to Miami-Dade Police spokesman Roy Rutland.
Around the league
Atlanta: Steven Jackson was conflicted. The years of losing with the St. Louis Rams had taken a toll.
“I was thinking about maybe retiring,” said Jackson, who signed his contract with the Falcons on Friday. “I really considered that. … I really contemplated ‘do I continue to play football’ or ‘do I retire.’ That’s one thing I admire about Barry Sanders.”
Jackson voided the final year of his contract with the Rams that was set to pay him $7million. He talked to the Green Bay Packers, but preferred the Falcons, who offered a three-year contract that was worth $12 million, with $4 million guaranteed.
“It was something where I took my time with it,” said Jackson, who flew in to sign his contract from the Bahamas on owner Arthur Blank’s private plane. “We had a number of teams that we were looking at.”
Jackson said he picked the Falcons because of their recent success with five consecutive winning seasons.
He also noted the Falcons’ appearance in the NFC Championship game and how they came up 10 yards short of the Super Bowl.
Baltimore: Former Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears agreed to a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
The Ravens announced the move late Friday night. Spears is expected to take a physical and sign the deal within the next few days.
Although the Super Bowl champions have lost several key players during free agency, they’ve enhanced their defensive line by signing Chris Canty and Spears, who has 89 starts over his NFL career.
New England: The Patriots released receiver Brandon Lloyd and re-signed defensive backs Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington and Adrian Wilson.
Arrington tied for the NFL lead in 2011 with seven interceptions. Wilson is a five-time Pro Bowl selection who holds the NFL record for most sacks in a season by a defensive back (eight), and is the sixth player in NFL history to record 25 sacks and 25 interceptions in his career.
Talib was acquired by New England in a trade with Tampa Bay on Nov. 1 for a 2013 fourth-round draft pick. He started in five of six games for New England after the trade and had 19 tackles and an interception that he returned 59 yards for a touchdown.
Lloyd had 74 receptions for 911 yards and four touchdowns last season for New England, with 12 receptions for 102 yards and one touchdown in two playoff games.
San Francisco: The 49ers signed safety Craig Dahl to a three-year contract, finding a replacement in the secondary after Dashon Goldson received a five-year deal from Tampa Bay. Dahl, 27, spent the past four seasons with the St. Louis Rams and had 78 tackles and an interception in 2012. Associated Press