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NFL Roundup: Packers re-sign RB James Starks

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The Green Bay Packers officially re-signed running back James Starks, the team announced Wednesday.

ESPN.com reported the deal was for two years.

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Starks played in 13 games with one start in 2013 and rushed for 493 yards and a career-high three touchdowns on 89 carries. His average of 5.54 yards per carry this past season ranked No. 1 in the league among running backs with 80-plus attempts. Starks was also tied for No. 2 in the NFL with three touchdown runs of 20-plus yards.

Drafted by the Packers in the sixth round in 2010 out of the University at Buffalo, Starks has played in 35 games during his career with five starts and has rushed for 1,427 yards and five touchdowns on 322 carries (4.4 avg.). He has also caught 45 passes for 351 yards and one touchdown.

Newton has successful ankle surgery

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton underwent successful surgery to repair ligament damage in his left ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

“Dr. (Robert) Anderson did not find anything unexpected in the procedure and the surgery went well,” Panthers head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said in a statement.

The team said the full recovery period for Newton is expected to be approximately four months, which would take Newton until the start of training camp. He could be freed to throw on a limited basis before then.

According to ESPN.com, Newton nicked his ankle in a Week 16 victory against the New Orleans Saints, but played in the regular-season finale at Atlanta and in the NFC divisional playoff loss against San Francisco without noticeable issue.

The decision was made to go ahead with the operation after the ankle failed to heal with rest after the end of the season.

Annual NFL meeting begin Monday

The annual National Football League meeting begins Monday in Orlando, Fla., and there will be changes of 13 rules, seven by-laws and one resolution potentially put up for vote.

The competition committee proposals included an addition to the rule about rolling up on the back of a player’s leg to include rolling up from the side; allowing the on-field referee to consult with a member of the league’s officiating department, likely vice president of officiating Dean Blandino in the New York command center, during replay reviews; add to the reviewable list of plays clear recoveries of fumbles in the field of play like the one by San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman during the playoffs; keep the game clock running on sacks; eliminate the one yard from the line of scrimmage rule for pass interference; and have defensive penalties behind the line of scrimmage be enforced from the previous spot rather than from where the foul occurred or where the play ended.

Vick to visit with Jets

It appears that veteran free-agent quarterback Michael Vick will visit the New York Jets this weekend.

According to reports, the Jets are interested in Vick after failing to land free-agent quarterback Josh McCown, who signed a two-year contract last week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Jets could be interested in bringing in a veteran to pair with second-year quarterback Geno Smith. Former starter Mark Sanchez remains on the Jets’ roster, but he could be released before a March 25 deadline when a $2 million roster bonus kicks in.

  •  Blake Bortles’ startling ascent from relative unknown to potential No. 1 overall NFL Draft pick stayed on course with one long-time NFL scout at Central Florida’s pro day characterizing the quarterback’s workout as a “very solid performance overall.”

Another high-ranking scout at Bortles’ workout gave the throwing session a “B” on a typical A-F scale, acknowledging Bortles’ “good” accuracy on underneath passes but also questioning his deep ball accuracy after several of the quarterback’s final throws sailed over the head of his intended targets.

Bortles completed 38 of 47 passes during the scripted workout, with the majority of his misses either drops from his receivers or overthrows on deep balls.

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