National Football League roundup

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[March 29, 2016]  March 28 (The Sports Xchange) - The governor of Georgia, under increasing pressure from major corporations and sports leagues including the NFL, has vetoed the controversial "religious liberty" bill that could have cost Atlanta's hope to host a Super Bowl.

Gov. Nathan Deal, a two-term Republican, announced his decision Monday after the state received criticism from gay rights groups and business leaders from throughout the country.

House Bill 757 would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Supporters said the measure was meant to protect religious freedom, while opponents described the bill as anti-LGBT.

The bill was denounced by the NFL, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank and local business owners.

Atlanta is a finalist for one of the next two Super Bowls to be awarded in 2019 or 2020, which would be held in the new $1.4 billion stadium set to open in the summer of 2017.

The NFL released a statement this month suggesting that the law, if signed, could cost the state the Super Bowl.

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Former Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings safety Husain Abdullah announced his retirement after suffering five concussions in his seven-year NFL career.

The 30-year-old Abdullah, who was a free agent, posted his decision on his Instagram page and said his health was the primary deciding factor.

Abdullah signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2008 and played four seasons in Minnesota before signing with the Chiefs as a free agent in 2013. Abdullah stepped away from football in 2012 to make a pilgrimage to Mecca as part of his Islamic faith.

In seven NFL seasons, he recorded 289 tackles in 97 games with six interceptions and two touchdowns.

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The Green Bay Packers signed veteran tight end Jared Cook to a one-year deal.

Cook, 28, was in Green Bay and completed a physical before the deal became official. The deal is worth a reported $3.6 million.

Cook comes to Green Bay after three seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He was released on Feb. 19, saving the Rams $11.75 million against the salary cap.

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The Carolina Panthers signed former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Brandon Boykin to a one-year contract.

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In 2015, Boykin played in 16 regular-season games with one start for the Steelers, tallying 21 tackles, one sack, one interception, five passes defensed and one forced fumble. He also saw action in two postseason games with one start.

"I've watched Carolina and you can't help but see how successful they've been in the defensive backfield with their style of play," Boykin said Monday. "I knew it would be a really good fit for me."

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The Chicago Bears and linebacker Sam Acho have agreed to a one year deal.

The 27-year-old started seven games last season for the Bears and provides depth at outside linebacker as well as a proven special teams player.

He recorded 60 tackles, including 21 solo last season to go along with three tackles-for-loss and four quarterback pressures. Acho also forced a fumble and recovered another.

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Representatives from all 32 NFL teams took in Monday's pro day workout at Mississippi to see a trio of projected first-round picks, including left tackle Laremy Tunsil -- the favorite to go No. 1 overall to the Tennessee Titans.

The Titans were well represented at the workout with general manager Jon Robinson, head coach Mike Mularkey and offensive line coach Russ Grimm among those keeping a close eye on Tunsil.



Tunsil did not run the 40-yard dash Monday, claiming that he had a sore hamstring. He did, however, turn heads in the bench press, lifting the bar 34 times. No offensive linemen who did the lifts at the Indianapolis combine posted more repetitions. (Editing by Larry Fine) ))

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