Cardinals to host Super Bowl XLII

Updated: March 4, 2005, 10:49 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals will host Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008, in their new stadium in Glendale, host committee chairman Mike Kennedy said in the Arizona Republic.

Kennedy said Debbie Wardrop, who has served as NFL director of special events since 1999, will become the committee's chief executive officer.

"We have a leader," Kennedy told the newspaper. "She gives us special insight to the NFL because she has worked with other host committees, and she will steer us away from the traps and pitfalls. She will be a steady, experienced hand in dealing with the hospitality community."

Wardrop, 48, who will earn $200,000 annually and begin her new job April 4, becomes just the second woman to run a Super Bowl. The other is Detroit's Susan Sherer, who is working on Super Bowl XL.

Cardinals, Ross agree
The Cardinals took first step toward adding more power and consistency to their offensive line, reaching a contract agreement with tackle Oliver Ross, an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers, as ESPN.com has learned.

A backup for most of his seven-year career, Ross emerged as a force in the last 1 seasons, stabilizing the right tackle spot for the Steelers, and starting all 16 contests in 2004. Ross, 30, is a solid two-way blocker who has improved dramatically as a pass blocker. He opted to accept the Cardinals' proposal over one that would have returned him to the Steelers.

Ross will sign a five-year, $17.5 million deal. Between the signing bonus and base salary, he will earn $6.3 million in 2005.

The addition of Ross could end the tenure of right tackle Anthony Clement in Arizona. The Cardinals are already attempting to trade former starting left tackle L.J. Shelton. And now, Clement could be next on the trade block. Pittsburgh likely will turn the starting right tackle job over to second-year veteran Max Starks, a third-round pick in 2004.

Seattle Seahawks: The club officially informed linebacker Anthony Simmons that he is being released, ending his seven-year career with the team.

Simmons was considered one of the team's best defensive players. He's an outside linebacker with the speed to cover running backs such as Marshall Faulk on passing downs.

But Mike Holmgren tired of his history of coming back slow from injuries. Even though linebacker is one of the team's thinnest positions, Simmons was released Friday along with safety Damien Robinson.

Their releases created a combined savings of $1.625 million.

Atlanta Falcons: Seeking more consistency in their placement game, the club reached a contract agreement with unrestricted free agent kicker Todd Peterson, a former University of Georgia standout.

The addition of Peterson ends the four-year Atlanta tenure of Jay Feely, who inexplicably struggled at the Georgia Dome throughout his career here. The Falcons had made Feely an offer early in the week but gave him a deadline for accepting it. When the deadline passed, Atlanta officials quickly sought other options, and contacted Peterson on the first day of the free agency signing period.

Negotiations with Peterson began on Thursday and concluded Friday afternoon. He will take a physical on Monday and, barring complications, will sign a one-year contract. Financial details of the deal were not immediately available.

Peterson, 35, was in training camp with the Falcons earlier in his career and it has been a longtime aspiration to play in Atlanta, where he makes his offseason home.

The San Francisco 49ers, for whom Peterson kicked the last two seasons, had hoped to retain him. San Francisco considered Peterson not only a solid kicker but also a strong leader in the locker room.

In 11 seasons, Peterson has converted 212 of 271 field goal attempts and all but three of his extra point tries, for 939 points.

Green Bay Packers: The club cut defensive back Michael Hawthorne.

Hawthorne, who played in all 16 games last season, tied for the team lead in forced fumbles with two and had one fumble recovery for a touchdown.

He began the year as the Packers' starting left cornerback before first-round draft pick Ahmad Carroll became the starter in the sixth week.

Hawthorne led Green Bay in special teams tackles with 19. He joined the team as a free agent in 2003 after the New Orleans Saints waived him.

Cleveland Browns: The club reached a one-year agreement with Bengals punter Kyle Richardson on Friday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Richardson, who turned 32 on Wednesday, has been with the Bengals the past two seasons. In going to Cincinnati, he will be joining his sixth team. He's punted for the Dolphins, Seahawks, Ravens, Vikings, Bengals and now the Browns.

The 6-2, 210 pound veteran comes from Arkansas State. His first pro experience was with the Rhein Fire in the World League in 1996.

Coates joins Crennel's staff
Former All-Pro Ben Coates became the Browns' tight ends coach, completing coach Romeo Crennel's new staff.

Coates, a five-time Pro Bowler with New England from 1994-98, won a Super Bowl title with Baltimore in 2000. He replaces Rob Chudzinski, who was hired to coach San Diego's tight ends last month.

Coates finished fourth all-time as a tight end receiver behind Ozzie Newsome, Shannon Sharpe and Kellen Winslow. Coates played in 158 games with 499 receptions for 5,555 yards and 50 touchdowns.

He coached at Division II Livingstone, his alma mater, and in NFL Europe.

New York Jets: Defensive lineman Lance Legree, who should add depth on the line, was signed.

The four-year veteran leaves the Giants, where he had 116 tackles, including 73 solo, six sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in his 60 career games there.

The Jets also hired former NFL fullback Sam Gash as assistant running backs and special teams coach.

Buffalo Bills: The club signed free agent Mike Gandy to help bolster their offensive line.

Gandy, drafted by Chicago in the third round in 2001, started five games at right guard last season and 14 games at left tackle in 2003.

The Bills lost starting left tackle Jonas Jennings, who signed with San Francisco on Thursday, and didn't re-sign offensive linemen Marcus Price and Mike Pucillo.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Veteran free agent tight end Dave Moore re-signed with the club.

Moore will return for his 12th season with the Buccaneers after making three catches for 17 yards in 15 games last season. He also serves as the team's long snapper.

A 13-year NFL veteran, Moore has 205 catches for 2,014 yards and 28 touchdowns. He's in his second stint with the Bucs after spending 10 seasons with the team from 1992-2001. He spent two years with the Buffalo Bills before rejoining Tampa Bay last season.

Moore ranks third in Tampa Bay history with 161 games played.

Miami Dolphins: The club signed free agent safety Travares Tillman, a move to help rebuild their depleted secondary.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Tillman had five tackles in just six games with the Panthers last season before missing the rest of the games with a broken arm. He has appeared in just 13 games over the last two years for Carolina.

The Dolphins released starting free safety Arturo Freeman and backup Shawn Wooden last week. Miami is also not expected to re-sign starting strong safety Sammy Knight, who is an unrestricted free agent.

A five-year veteran, Tillman has 69 tackles and one interception in 41 games, including 11 starts. Tillman was a second-round draft pick in 2000 by Buffalo. He spent three seasons with the Bills before joining Carolina.

Houston Texans: The club signed cornerback Jason Bell and fullback Moran Norris.

Norris started 13 games in two years and is the primary lead blocker for the Texans running game. The 6-foot-1, 250-pound player had four catches for 13 yards last season.

Bell led the special teams in tackles in 2002 and has 35 special teams tackles in the last three seasons. He missed the last seven games in 2004 after breaking his arm against Indianapolis.

Carolina Panthers: The club re-signed special teams captain and wide receiver Karl Hankton.

Hankton made 11 special teams tackles in 2004 and caught two passes for 25 yards. In five seasons with the team, Hankton has 17 receptions for 236 yards.

Information from ESPN.com senior writers John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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