Falcons, QB Leftwich agree to two-year deal
ESPN.com news services
Updated: September 18, 2007, 3:57 PM ET
The Falcons agreed to a two-year, $7 million contract with quarterback Byron Leftwich, sources told ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli.
Leftwich was cut by Jacksonville in a surprise preseason move as the Jaguars chose David Garrard as their starter. Ankle and knee problems have prevented Leftwich, 27, from completing a full season. He missed 15 games the past two years.
The Falcons are looking for immediate help at quarterback. Joey Harrington, who took over as the starter when Michael Vick was suspended by the NFL, has lost his first two starts with Atlanta and the offense is averaging only 10 points.
Leftwich could join the Falcons as Harrington's backup and eventually compete for the starting job.
Harrington has been sacked 13 times, and coach Bobby Petrino said Monday the quarterback is holding the ball too long and showing a lack of confidence in his play.
Harrington was 12-for-20 passing for 200 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions in a 13-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.
Harrington's current backups are Chris Redman, who has not played in an NFL game since 2003, and Casey Bramlet, whose only professional experience came in Europe.
Cowboys sign suspended Tank
Johnson might not be available until Nov. 11
02:54 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 18, 2007
By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News
IRVING – Tank Johnson is a Cowboy.
According to his agent, Gerrold Colton, the Cowboys signed the suspended defensive tackle to a deal Tuesday – although they might have to wait until Nov. 11 at the earliest before he's in uniform.
Johnson has at most six games left on an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy even though he has been unsigned. At the time, commissioner Roger Goodell announced Johnson's suspension, he left open the possibility of reducing it to six games, although Johnson would have to apply for early reinstatement.
The chances of Johnson's suspension being reduced to six games could have taken a hit when he was pulled over by Gilbert, Ariz., police for driving while impaired in June, although the charges were eventually dropped. The Bears released Johnson three days after the incident.
If Goodell upholds the eight-game suspension, then the earliest he could play would be Nov. 11 at the New York Giants. If the suspension is reduced to six games, he could debut Oct. 21 at Texas Stadium against Minnesota.
Under league rules, the Cowboys will have to release a player to make room for Johnson on the active roster for one day before he will revert to the team's suspended list.
Johnson, 25, spent his first three seasons with Chicago, coincidentally the Cowboys' opponent Sunday. In 46 games, he was credited with 63 tackles and nine sacks.
The Cowboys' interest in Johnson increased when starting nose tackle Jason Ferguson was lost for the season with a torn right biceps in Week 1. Jay Ratliff has replaced Ferguson in the starting lineup and the team re-signed Remi Ayodele as the backup.
The Cowboys had character concerns about Johnson when he entered the 2004 draft out of the University of Washington. Chicago drafted him in the second round.
In November 2005, he was arrested for concealed possession of a handgun. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge and was given 18 months probation. Three months later he was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, but the charges were later dropped.
Last December, he was arrested possessing unlicensed weapons and charged with violating his probation, which followed him being placed on home confinement by a Cook County (Ill.) Judge, preventing him from driving by himself or leaving the state.
Shortly after Super Bowl XLI, Johnson pleaded guilty to violating his probation and was sentenced to 120 days in jail but was released early on May 13.
Johnson has been working out in Tempe, Ariz., during the suspension.