The Atlanta Falcons released running back Steven Jackson, who in two seasons with the team couldn't recapture his 1,000-yard form that made him one of the league's top backs with the Rams.

Thursday's release of the 31-year-old Jackson was not a surprise. He led the team with 707 yards rushing and six touchdowns in 2014, but averaged only 3.7 yards per carry. In 2013, his first season with the Falcons, he had 543 yards rushing in 12 games.

Jackson was a first-round pick by the Rams in 2004. He had a streak of eight consecutive seasons of more than 1,000 yards rushing, including career-high totals of 1,528 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2006.

Jackson has had at least 20 catches in 10 straight seasons, including a career-best 90 receptions in 2006.

Bills negotiating with free agent QB McCown

The Bills are negotiating to sign veteran free agent Josh McCown to address their long-standing needs at quarterback. The negotiations began after the 35-year-old spent the previous two days visiting the Browns. Two weeks ago, McCown spent two days meeting with Bills officials and touring Buffalo. He has also visited Chicago and the New York Jets. McCown is a 12-year NFL veteran who has a 17-32 career record split among six teams.

Panthers' Hardy seeking reinstatement

Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy is seeking immediate reinstatement from the NFL after a federal judge cleared way for Adrian Peterson's return to the league.

Hardy's agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said, "We are working very closely with the NFLPA on this process." Like Peterson, Hardy spent the majority of last season on the commissioner's exempt list preventing him from playing.

Hardy, 26, was convicted last summer on two counts of domestic violence. He appealed and had both charges dismissed Feb. 9 when his accuser couldn't be located to testify.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an e-mail the ruling on Peterson is "irrelevant" to Hardy's case. Hardy "hasn't been disciplined," McCarthy said. "There is nothing for him to seek reinstatement from at this point. His case remains under review."

... Matt Hasselbeck agreed to a one-year contract extension to back up Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. ... The Eagles will release veteran offensive lineman Todd Herremans. ... Tennessee left tackle Michael Roos is retiring from the NFL after playing 10 seasons and 148 games with the Titans.


Solo's legal troubles not over

Hope Solo may be back with the U.S. women's soccer team, but her legal troubles are not over. Prosecutors in Kirkland, Wash., plan to appeal a judge's decision to dismiss two charges of fourth-degree domestic violence against Solo, a two-time Olympic champion goalkeeper.

The charges stem from a June incident in which Solo was accused of attacking two relatives at their home. A judge dismissed those claims last month. A week later Solo, 33, was suspended from the women's soccer team for 30 days after her husband, former NFL player Jerramy Stevens, was arrested for drunken driving while behind the wheel of a U.S. team van during January training camp in Manhattan Beach.


Horse racing: Jerry Lambert, one of the top jockeys in California during the 1960s and '70s and the rider of Hall of Fame horse Native Diver, was found dead at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, Calif., where he lived. He was 74. He had been in poor health and died in his sleep..

Tennis: Venus Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska for the second time this year to line up two-time champion Victoria Azarenka in the Qatar Open semifinals. Williams, who beat Radwanska to reach the Australian Open quarterfinals last month, won 6-4, 1-6, 6-3, the third time in four days she's gone the distance.

Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 champ who received a wild-card entry, beat third-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1.