RB Ivory signs tender, trade to Jets coming?

New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory, a restricted free agent, on Friday signed the one-year tender offer that he received from the team on March 9.

The deal paves the way for Ivory to be traded by the Saints, and apparently the New York Jets are interested.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reported Friday evening that the Jets are “interested in acquiring the bruising 26-year-old running back for a lower draft choice.” Rich Cimini of ESPN New York reported that “there are strong indications the trade will happen.”

Ivory visited the Jets’ training facility on April 12, but they weren’t interested in parting with a second-round pick to obtain his services.

Ivory, the Saints’ leading rusher in 2010 when he made the roster as an undrafted free agent, was offered a one-year deal for $2.023 million with a second-round draft pick as compensation.

Ivory, however, was eligible to receive an offer from any other team until Friday. If he had been extended an offer, the Saints would have had a chance to match it or accept a second-round pick in return.

The 6-foot, 222-pound Ivory had 137 carries for 716 yards with five touchdowns and was a consensus NFL All-Rookie team pick in 2010. In three seasons with the Saints, he has rushed for 1,307 yards and 10 TDs.

His 5.1 yards per carry average for his career ranks third in franchise history.


McCRAY RE-SIGNS: In Irving, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys have re-signed safety Danny McCray of LSU.e_SClB after the best season of his career.

McCray, a restricted free agent from LSU, was second on the team with a career-high 87 tackles as the Cowboys battled multiple injuries in the middle of their secondary.

The fourth-year pro has always been a special teams standout, and was second with 18 tackles on punts and kickoffs.

The Cowboys expect Barry Church to return as a starter at strong safety after he missed most of last season with a torn Achilles tendon.

Dallas needs depth after waiving Gerald Sensabaugh this offseason. The Cowboys added Will Allen, a nine-year veteran, and have high hopes for Matt Johnson, who missed all of his rookie season with a hamstring injury.


SANCHEZ SUGGESTS TEBOW FRENZY FUELED BY JETS: In New York, Mark Sanchez suggests the media frenzy that accompanied Tim Tebow’s presence with the New York Jets was partly fueled by the team itself.

The Jets quarterback says in an interview with FOX Sports Radio in Los Angeles that the media coverage during training camp in Cortland, N.Y., last summer was more intense than usual — including ESPN camping out for a week — because of Tebow’s popularity.

“I just don’t know if it was the best situation for either of us,” Sanchez told the “Petros & Money Show” on Wednesday. He adds that “ESPN didn’t necessarily sneak in overnight at our training camp. They had to get permission to go.”

Sanchez says the distractions could have been avoided, “but he’s a popular guy and people gravitate toward the guy.”


AGENT SAYS TEAM HAS DEAL WITH JAMES HARRISON: In Cincinnati, former Steelers linebacker James Harrison is headed down the Ohio River to continue his career, agreeing to a two-year deal with the AFC North-rival Cincinnati Bengals.

It won’t be long before he gets his first chance to show Pittsburgh what it’s missing.

The Bengals play their first home game next season on Monday night, Sept. 16 against the Steelers, the team they knocked out of playoff competition last year. Harrison, who turns 35 in May, got used to making deep runs in the playoffs with Pittsburgh.

Now, he’s going to get a chance to try to get the Bengals their first playoff victory since 1990. Cincinnati has made the playoffs each of the last two seasons as a wild card team, losing to Houston in the first round both times.

Agent Bill Parise said Harrison has passed a physical and all details of a two-year deal had been worked out on Friday evening. The Bengals didn’t confirm the deal because it hadn’t been signed. Parise said Harrison was working out in Arizona and would be in Cincinnati the second week of May to start working out with his new team.

Harrison tweeted: “Whodey!!!!!!!!!!! Hello Cincinnati!!!!”

The former Defensive Player of the Year was a casualty of Pittsburgh’s move to get under the salary cap.

The Steelers and Parise negotiated but couldn’t reach a deal on a reworked contract. Harrison was entering the final two year of a $51 million extension signed in 2009.

He missed the first three games last season with a knee injury, but finished with six sacks — tied for the team lead — as the Steelers finished No. 1 in defense for the fourth time since Harrison became a starter in their 3-4 alignment. He moves to a defense that finished sixth last season and lines up in a 4-3. Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga signed a new deal last month, keeping one of the Bengals’ captains.

When he signs his deal, Harrison will have been under contract with three of the AFC North’s four teams. An undrafted free agent in 2002, Harrison played two seasons on the practice squad before he was signed by the Baltimore Ravens. They let him go, and he ended up back in Pittsburgh.

He helped the Steelers win the Super Bowl in 2006 and was the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. He helped Pittsburgh win another Super Bowl that season by returning Kurt Warner’s pass 100 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first half of a 27-23 victory.


KICKER HAUSCHKA RE-SIGNS: In Renton, Wash., kicker Steven Hauschka has re-signed with the Seattle Seahawks.

Hauschka’s signing was announced by the club on Friday. Hauschka was an unrestricted free agent.

Hauschka has been the Seahawks kicker for the last two seasons after being claimed off waivers from Denver before the start of the 2011 season. He’s made 49 of 57 field goals during the two seasons with a long of 52 yards. Last season he scored a career-high 118 points.

For his career, Hauschka has converted 82 percent of his field goal attempts.

Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report