SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nnamdi Asomugha is not about to begin rattling off all the reasons and ways things went wrong for him in Philadelphia. He figures that would do him little good at this stage.
Back where he starred collegiately at California and began his NFL career with the Oakland Raiders, Asomugha is ready to win with the San Francisco 49ers.
The NFC champion Niners made it official with the free agent cornerback Wednesday, signing him to a one-year contract that could pay as much as $3 million.
"Ultimately, the Niners felt at the end of the day like the right place to be," Asomugha said. "I was really impressed with the way they run their organization, impressed with the winning, impressed with the players. Everything felt like it was in line."
As usual, Asomugha insists he will start his new job with the same motivation to prove himself. And even a little more so now after his disappointing departure from the Eagles.
The former All-Pro was released by the Eagles on March 12 after two disappointing seasons — and now he is eager to help the 49ers return to the Super Bowl and win after losing 34-31 to the Ravens on Feb. 3 in New Orleans.
Now, he gets another start in the Bay Area region he still considers home.
Asomugha and the reigning NFC champions reached agreement on the deal Tuesday. The contract has no guaranteed money. Asomugha is due to earn a base package of $1.35 million with salary and bonuses, and could make an additional $1.65 million in incentives for playing time, awards such as the Pro Bowl and reaching the playoffs.
He had 55 tackles and an interception last season, and finished his two-year stint with the Eagles with 95 tackles and four interceptions.
"We are very pleased to add Nnamdi to our defense," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "Throughout his career, Nnamdi has accomplished a great deal on the field and in the community. We look forward to his contributions to our team and the Bay Area."
The 31-year-old Asomugha spent his first eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders from 2003-2010. They selected him 31st overall in the first round of the 2003 draft out of nearby California in Berkeley. He made three Pro Bowls during his time with Oakland.
"It definitely feels good being back here. I started out here in college, so it feels good, the familiarity is here," he said. "I don't have to acclimate to a new culture and new surroundings. The focus can be on football, so that's a beautiful thing. I don't know a season I've ever gone in that I didn't feel I had something to prove. I've had a chip on my shoulder every year that I've played. I think it's different this year because of the adversity I went through in Philadelphia. It's always been a part of my game — coming in and showing what I can do. Now, being able to be here, start fresh with them, it's a great opportunity for that."
He isn't sure what his role will be, but plans to compete for a job in a deep secondary and show he can still be a dominant defender.
Asomugha will join a San Francisco secondary featuring returning starters in safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Carlos Rogers, and new safety Craig Dahl. Dahl signed a three-year contract on March 16 as San Francisco found an apparent replacement after Dashon Goldson received a five-year deal from Tampa Bay at the start of the NFL's free agency period.
"I just want to have fun," Asomugha said. "That's the attitude I'm coming in with. I want to win games, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make those things happen, regardless of what I'm coming into."
Before his release in Philadelphia on the first day of free agency last month, Asomugha had been due to make $15 million this season, including $4 million guaranteed, after signing a $60 million, five-year deal with the Eagles in 2011.
"I think there were a number of reasons that you could point to, but ultimately it didn't work out," he said. "The bottom line was it didn't work out. I tried my hardest for it to work out and I believed all the way up to the end that it was going to work out. I wanted it to work out so badly. I wanted to win in Philadelphia. I wanted to be great in Philadelphia. I wanted everything to work out. Sometimes it doesn't work out that way, and I think the more level-headed during those difficult moments helps you bounce back. I think I've been pretty level-headed with it."
Notes: The 49ers announced Wednesday that season tickets are sold out for the 2013 "Farewell to Candlestick" but a limited number of single-game tickets will go on sale April 27 through Ticketmaster.com. The team encourages fans to begin thinking about the first season in the new Santa Clara stadium in 2014 — with 75 percent of tickets already sold for the venue.
-- Janie McCauley
Exonerated LB Banks signs with Atlanta
ATLANTA (AP) — Brian Banks said signing with the Atlanta Falcons is his second-biggest accomplishment.
The biggest was Banks' exoneration of rape charges one year ago.
Banks, 27, signed with the Falcons on Wednesday, giving him an opportunity he said he did not believe would be possible when he spent five years in prison and five years on probation following his conviction of rape and kidnapping charges a decade ago.
"I felt at the time in order for me to exit prison with a sane mind and be able to just function as a person I had to let go of certain dreams and goals I once held in life, football being one of them," Banks said.
Banks said he "couldn't have asked for a better place to be" than with the Falcons.
"I can't believe this is happening," he said. "It's surreal."
Banks was a 16-year-old junior and had made a verbal commitment to sign with Southern Cal when a Long Beach Poly high school classmate accused him of the rape.
The woman recanted her claim and offered to help Banks clear his name after he was out of prison. That helped lead to the conviction being overturned by a California court and Banks' record cleared on May 12, 2012.
Banks said he read every book he could find while in prison and also learned to value every opportunity.
"It's almost impossible to explain, the feeling of not having freedom, to be stripped away of your freedom, of your dignity, the respect you once had," he said. "To lose it all and watch the world pass you by as you sit inside a prison cell, knowing you shouldn't be there, knowing you're there because of another person's lies, to lose it all and then get it all back, it's a very humbling, spiritual feeling that you just don't want to take anything for granted.
"I've had the opportunity to see both sides of the human spirit. ... My journey has been crazy but my journey has been a learning experience that is unlike any other."
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Banks will be given an opportunity to win a spot on the team at inside linebacker. He met with Falcons coach Mike Smith at the team's facility Wednesday.
"I had a really amazing one-on-one conversation with him," Banks said. "He congratulated me and said he was happy for me to be here but this was just the beginning of a long road to making that next step and making that 53-man roster. We both agreed that I don't expect any handouts or any favoritism. I'm here to work like everybody else and the result of my hard work will be whatever they deem necessary.
"All I can do is my best and however the turnout will be, I thank God for the opportunity."
Banks will participate in Atlanta's offseason workouts, which begin on April 22.
The Falcons are the first NFL team to sign Banks, but he has had chances with other teams. He took part in the Seattle Seahawks' minicamp last June following workouts with Kansas City and San Diego. He had one tackle in two games with Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League (UFL).
Banks also worked out for the Falcons before the 2012 season.
"We had a chance to work him out last year and have been monitoring his progress since then," said Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff in a statement released by the team. "He has worked extremely hard for this chance over the last year and he has shown us that he is prepared for this opportunity. We are happy that Brian will have a chance to live out his dream of playing in the NFL and we look forward to seeing him on the field."
Banks has become a spokesman for the California Innocence Project, which works to exonerate the wrongly accused.
He said he is working with producer James Moll on a documentary about his story. He said publishing companies are interested in a book.
-- Charles Odum
Agent: WR Hixon agrees to terms with Panthers
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The agent for unrestricted free agent Domenik Hixon says his client has agreed to a one-year contract with the Carolina Panthers.
Agent Eric Metz said Wednesday his client is "very excited about joining Carolina" and feels it's a "great fit" after spending the last two days visiting with coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
Metz says Hixon's familiarity with new Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman played a role in his decision. A seven-year NFL veteran, Hixon spent the last five seasons with the New York Giants where Gettleman worked in the pro personnel department.
Hixon started three games last season for the Giants and played in 13, recording 39 receptions for 567 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
The signing essentially turns out to be a swap between the Panthers and Giants for potential No. 3 receivers.
Earlier this offseason the Giants signed Carolina's Louis Murphy after he become an unrestricted free agent. That left a vacancy for the Panthers behind starters Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell.
Hixon is expected to battle with recently signed Ted Ginn Jr., along with holdovers Kealoha Pilares, Armanti Edwards and Joe Adams for the third receiver spot.
For his career Hixon has started 13 games and played in 61.
He has 102 receptions for 1,405 yards receiving and six touchdowns.
The 6-foot-2, 197-pound Hixon entered the NFL with the Denver Broncos in 2006 with as an undrafted free agent out of Akron, but only played in four games and had no receptions in two seasons there.
He joined the New York Giants in 2007.
His best season came in 2008 when he started seven games and had 43 receptions for 596 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
-- Steve Reed
Cardinals ILB Washington suspended for four games
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The NFL suspended Arizona Cardinals inside linebacker Daryl Washington on Wednesday for the first four games of next season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Washington made the Pro Bowl as an alternate last season. He led the Cardinals in 2012 with 140 tackles — 110 of them solo. He had nine sacks, 14 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, an interception, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed. Washington's nine sacks were the most by an NFL inside linebacker, and he also led the team in tackles in 2011.
He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and in preseason games.
A second-round draft pick out of TCU in 2010, Washington signed a six-year contract last September.
"I was always taught that when you make a mistake, you admit it, learn from it and face whatever consequences there are," Washington said in a statement released by the team. "I take full responsibility and I understand that I let down my teammates, the organization and fans. I apologize for that and promise that no one will work harder to make up for it."
Washington added in a tweet, "I apologize to all my fans, teammates and to the Cardinals organization. I promise to work even harder and to not let you guys down anymore."
Arizona's first-year coach Bruce Arians also issued a statement through the team.
"Adversity and dealing with it is part of the business but when it's avoidable like this was, it's particularly tough," Arians said. "One of the biggest things we preach is accountability. Daryl knows that and our team knows that. We will deal with this and others will have to step up until he's back. I'm confident they will."
Redskins bring back Grossman, add White
ASHBURN, Va. (AP) — With Robert Griffin III rehabbing from a serious knee injury, the Washington Redskins bolstered their alternative quarterback plans on Wednesday, bringing back Rex Grossman and giving Pat White another chance at the NFL.
Grossman agreed to a one-year deal to return to the team, and White also agreed to sign with Washington in a comeback attempt after three years away from the league.
Grossman has played nine NFL seasons and once took the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl, but he again is projected to be the third-stringer behind second-year players Griffin and Kirk Cousins. Grossman did not take a regular season snap last season, but he was often credited for giving valuable veteran guidance to the two rookies ahead of him.
White gives the Redskins a mobile quarterback who can run the read-option offense in practice while Griffin recovers from reconstructive right knee surgery. Cousins is expected to work as the starter during offseason practices, but White can better simulate Griffin's speed and running ability.
While the Redskins have said Griffin's rehab is "ahead of schedule," they won't have a good gauge on his readiness for next season until training camp begins in late July.
White was a second-round draft pick out of West Virginia by the Miami Dolphins in 2009. He was featured in the wildcat offense while appearing in 13 games as a rookie. He did not complete a pass — going 0 for 5 for the season — and he ran 21 times for 81 yards.
Seattle signs Portis, McDaniel, re-signs McDonald
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks turned to a familiar name to try and add depth at quarterback, signing former practice squad QB Josh Portis to a two-year contract on Wednesday.
The signing of Portis came after the team earlier in the day officially announced the signing of free agent defensive tackle Tony McDaniel and the re-signing of restricted free agent Clinton McDonald.
Seattle had tendered a one-year qualifying offer to McDonald, who chose to sign and return as Seattle's backup nose tackle.
Finding a backup quarterback for starter Russell Wilson is now an offseason priority for the Seahawks after trading Matt Flynn to Oakland earlier this week. Bringing back Portis makes sense, although the Seahawks are likely to look for additional options. Portis was on Seattle's practice squad for the entire 2012 season before being released in late November. He had signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL in March.
McDaniel played in 54 games with Miami since going to the Dolphins in 2009 via a trade with Jacksonville. McDaniel was mostly a reserve with the Dolphins, starting just two games.
The defensive line was a priority for the Seahawks this offseason. McDaniel is the third free agent defensive lineman to sign with Seattle in the last month, joining defensive end Cliff Avril and defensive tackle Michael Bennett.
Steelers re-sign LB Sylvester
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Steelers are bringing back linebacker Stevenson Sylvester.
Sylvester signed a 1-year deal with the Steelers on Wednesday, giving Pittsburgh some needed depth. The Steelers selected Sylvester in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL draft but he has struggled to make an impact.
The 24-year-old Sylvester has appeared in 41 games during his three seasons, playing primarily on special teams. He has eight career tackles and two forced fumbles but missed six games in 2012 due to a knee problem.
The Steelers are in need of bodies at linebacker after cutting 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year James Harrison last month. Pittsburgh is not counting on 2012 third-round pick Sean Spence to be ready anytime soon. Spence severely injured his left knee in Pittsburgh's final preseason game last August.
Bengals get QB Skelton to compete for backup role
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals have acquired quarterback John Skelton off waivers from Arizona to compete for the job backing up Andy Dalton.
Cincinnati has signed only one free agent from another club — quarterback Josh Johnson from Tampa Bay, who also will compete for the job.
Skelton was a fifth-round pick from Fordham in 2010 who started 17 games in three seasons, including six last year. He has completed 53 percent of his passes for 3,707 yards with 15 touchdowns and 25 interceptions.
The Bengals also signed linebacker Vincent Rey to a new deal on Wednesday. Rey was third in special teams tackles last season and had one sack.
-- Joe Kay
Raiders sign CB Porter
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — The Oakland Raiders have signed free agent cornerback Tracy Porter, adding an experienced starter to an untested unit.
General manager Reggie McKenzie announced the move Wednesday.
Porter played only six games last year for Denver because of problems with seizures and a concussion. He spent the previous four years in New Orleans. Raiders coach Dennis Allen was the secondary coach for the Saints in Porter's first three seasons.
His most productive season came in 2009, when he had four interceptions in the regular season and a Super Bowl-clinching interception return for a touchdown against Peyton Manning.
The other cornerbacks currently on Oakland's roster have combined for four career starts.
-- Tracy Porter
Lions land DT Mosley on two-year deal
DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Lions have agreed to a two-year contract with veteran defensive tackle C.J. Mosley.
Agent Harold Lewis confirmed the deal to The Associated Press on Wednesday. Mosley was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this week.
Mosley spent the last three seasons with the Jaguars, starting 15 games and recording 136 tackles.
Mosley won a starting job last season. He started 12 games in 2012 and had a career-best 80 tackles. He has eight years in the league, spending time with Minnesota, the New York Jets, Cleveland and Jacksonville.
He will join an interior line in Detroit that includes Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
Former Jets GM to work as agent for coaches
CHICAGO (AP) — Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum has been hired as president of Priority Sports & Entertainment to represent professional and college coaches in basketball and football.
Tannenbaum, fired by the Jets in January after seven seasons as the team's GM, will oversee all contract negotiations and representation for coaches in the agency's newly formed coaches, front office and broadcasters division. The agency also says Wednesday that Tannenbaum will work closely with Priority Sports CEO Mark Bartelstein — the two negotiated player deals with each other over the years.
Tannenbaum, who recently served as a guest analyst for the NFL Network, will work out of New York for the Chicago-based agency. Bartelstein calls the hiring of Tannenbaum "an absolute home run" for the company.