Running back Steven Jackson signs with Atlanta Falcons

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The Atlanta Falcons replaced Michael Turner with another proven, productive running back.

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Steven Jackson, the top running back in free agency, agreed to a three-year, $12 million deal with the Falcons on Thursday.

The 6-foot-3, 229-pound Jackson, who will turn 30 in July, has rushed for 10,135 yards and 56 touchdowns in the NFL since being taken 24th overall in the 2004 draft.

He also has caught 407 passes for 3,324 yards and eight touchdowns.

CHIEFS: Matt Cassel’s rocky career in Kansas City came to an abrupt ending the team’s former starting quarterback was released with two years left on his contract.

The decision to cut ties with Cassel came one day after new general manager John Dorsey and coach Andy Reid held a news conference to introduce Alex Smith, whom they landed in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to be their quarterback of the future.

Hours later, Cassel reached an agreement to join the Minnesota Vikings as the backup for Christian Ponder, according to person with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

LIONS: Jeff Backus played 12 years for Detroit, missing only one game while enduring some of the franchise’s most difficult days.

His perseverance was finally rewarded with a playoff appearance two seasons ago, and now the durable offensive lineman is comfortable calling it a career.

“It’s time for me to hang up my cleats and retire,” Backus said in a statement Thursday.

“It’s a bittersweet moment, but I’m content knowing I gave everything I had, played as hard as I could and tried my best to live up to the standards I believe in.”

TEXANS: Free-agent Ed Reed is visiting Houston, where the safety says the interest is “mutual.”

“Both of us want to get a championship, going to see if we can work some things out,” the former Baltimore Raven told reporters Thursday, according to KRIV-TV in Houston.

General manager Rick Smith flew to pick up Reed in the private jet owned by team chairman and CEO Bob McNair.


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