NEW ORLEANS -- Defensive end Will Smith and linebacker Jonathan Vilma have agreed to restructure their contracts in order to remain with the New Orleans Saints, people familiar with the situation said. Meanwhile, one person said reserve linebacker Will Herring was being released after two seasons with the club. The people spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday on condition of anonymity because contract details have not been announced by the team or the players representatives, though Herring said on Twitter that he appreciated his time in New Orleans. The 31-year-old Smith and 30-year-old Vilma, both veteran defensive captains who were implicated in the NFLs bounty probe, would have consumed about $23 million combined in salary cap space had they not agreed to new deals before the new league year -- and free agency -- began Tuesday afternoon. Smith was a first-round pick by New Orleans in 2004. In 2008, he signed a six-year deal worth about $70 million. It was renegotiated before 2012 to convert salary to bonus and lower the cost of the contract against the salary cap for last season. If the Saints kept him in 2013 under the terms of that contract, Smith would have cost the Saints about $14.5 million against the $123 million salary cap. Smiths agent, Joel Segal, confirmed that his client would remain with New Orleans but declined to discuss contract details. Smith wrote, "Loyalty is everything," on his Twitter page. Vilma was acquired in a trade with the Jets in 2008. Under his previous deal, he would have counted for about $8.6 million against the 2013 salary cap. Both players have been captains of the Saints defence for several seasons and were also statistical leaders on the 2009 Super Bowl team. They spent nearly all of last season successfully working to overturn suspensions NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had given them -- a full season for Vilma and four games for Smith -- in connection with the leagues investigation of the Saints cash-for-hits bounty program administered by former defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams from 2009 to 2011. The NFL never absolved them of helping to organize a pool that paid improper cash bonuses for hard and potentially injurious hits. But after lengthy appeals, the league agreed to drop player suspensions in the interest of ending protracted legal challenges and bitter disputes with the NFL Players Association. Smith has been among the Saints leaders in sacks during most of his nine seasons. He had as many as 13 sacks in 2009, but only six in 2012, the third-lowest total of his career. Vilma joined the Saints as a middle linebacker in what was then a 4-3 defence and was credited with more than 100 tackles in each of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons. His production fell off sharply in 2011, when he was bothered by a knee injury that required surgery and also forced him to miss the first five games of 2012. When Vilma returned, he played more at outside linebacker, with 2012 free-agent acquisition Curtis Lofton taking over in the middle. He was credited with 37 tackles, a sack and intercepted a pass for a touchdown. Now the Saints, who have hired Rob Ryan as their new defensive co-ordinator, are switching to a 3-4 defensive scheme in which Vilma struggled with the Jets. Coach Sean Payton, however, has said recently that he believes Vilma and Smith could adapt to the Saints 3-4 scheme, because the club often used variations of a 3-4 defence in certain situations during recent seasons. Herring, acquired as a free agent in 2011, played in all 16 games last season, starting one, and was credited with 13 tackles and one forced fumble. "Thankful for my time with the Saints, my teammates, and their incredible fans!!" he wrote on his Twitter page. http://www.lionssportsfansshop.com/Nike ... te-Jersey/
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. -- The Hamilton Tiger-Cats signed import defensive backs Thad Turner, Marcus Walker and Justin Boddie, as well as non-import defensive lineman/long snapper Neil Puffer on Thursday.ATLANTA -- While Terrell Owens waits for an NFL team to contact him, the 15-year veteran wide receiver has focused his attention toward an acting career. Owens, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament and had surgery in early April, filmed an episode of the USA sitcom "Necessary Roughness" on Wednesday at the Georgia Dome. He said his knee is a couple months away from being completely healed and though no team has contacted him, he still expects to play this season. "Im still not 100 per cent to be able to go to a team and contribute," Owens told The Associated Press. "When I get to the point to where Im comfortable and able to run around, Ill feel like those calls should be coming." Owens, 37, said he is not worried about skeptics who wonder if can still be a major NFL contributor. He said he is capable of making plays on the field, pointing out the 983 yards and nine touchdowns he had with the Cincinnati Bengals last season. Owens also said the leagues 4 1/2-month lockout helped him. He said after his surgery four months ago, he didnt feel pressured to rush his rehab because there were no off-season training activities being held. "It worked out for me," he said. "I dont see where there was a disadvantage considering nobody was doing anything at the time. There was a lot of downtime. But thats for anybody who was nursing an injury. It allowed us that time with no pressure." If a team doesnt come calling anytime soon, Owens said he can spend more time honing his acting skills. He has spent numerous of hourrs in acting class, learning how to complete a dialogue without stumbling over his lines.dddddddddddd Liz Kruger, the executive producer and creator of "Necessary Roughness," said Owens has the potential to become a good actor and is eager to learn. "He has the personality," Kruger said. "Its a charisma you cant learn." On the sitcom, Owens will play the role of an All-Pro defensive back on the shows season finale, which airs Sept. 14. He said he wants to continue to build his brand as an actor, so he can make a seamless transition once he does decide to stop playing football. Owens, who doesnt shy away from the camera on the football field, had to overcome the fear of performing as an actor. "Sometimes you can get stage fright when you have all those lines," said Owens, who also has his own reality show "The T.O. Show," which premiered on VH1 earlier this week. "I had one moment sort of like that a few years ago. ... I had rehearsed but when the guy said action, I kind of fumbled my words and my lines. It takes a while to get comfortable." Owens doesnt expect to become an Oscar-winning actor like his friends Jamie Foxx or Denzel Washington. He does think he can become a respectable actor and wants to continue to hone his skills and build his portfolio. "The more repetitions I get and the more Im exposed with the surroundings, I get better," he said. "Its just like the football field. This is only another notch, another step in the direction of where I want to go." ' ' '