The Patriots signed veteran linebacker James Anderson Wednesday, adding needed depth to that position.
Anderson spent last season with the Bears, starting all 16 games, and led the team with 102 total tackles. He added four sacks, four pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.
The 30-year-old Anderson was a third-round pick of the Panthers in 2006, and spent the first seven years of his career with Carolina, playing in 94 games, though he did not become a starter until 2009.
Anderson had a career-best and Panthers franchise-record 145 tackles in 2011.
He is listed at 6 feet 2 inches, 235 pounds.
Receiver Mark Harrison was released to make room for Anderson. Signed as a rookie free agent out of Rutgers last year, Harrison did not even practice with the Patriots, spending all of 2013 on the reserve/non-football injury list with a foot injury suffered during his final college season.
New deal for Kaepernick
49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received a six-year, $126 million contract extension Wednesday that keeps him with the organization through the 2020 season.
The deal includes $61 million in guaranteed money, a person with knowledge of the contract said, speaking on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t disclosed.
The sides had made it a top priority to get a deal done before the start of training camp next month.
‘‘They were able to get it done six weeks earlier than what I think everyone thought,’’ Kaepernick said. ‘‘I'm very excited to have it done at this point and we don’t have to worry about talks or anything like that moving forward.’’
Kaepernick, whose quick ascent to the ranks of the NFL’s elite under center has earned him rock star status, had been due to make less than $1 million this season.
Now, the 26-year-old Kaepernick instantly becomes one of the league’s richest stars.
‘‘I'm always striving to be in that group. An elite group in the NFL. Not necessarily pay, but as far as a player. Whatever comes along with that comes along with it,’’ Kaepernick said. ‘‘I'm very grateful for it . . . I don’t think my motivation is money-driven.’’
Since taking over the starting job from Alex Smith two years ago, Kaepernick led the 49ers to their first Super Bowl in 18 years after the 2012 season — losing by 3 points to Baltimore — and then to the NFC Championship game last season, a 3-point defeat to the rival and eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Second wave of plaintiffs
Former Pro Bowl defensive end Marcellus Wiley added his name to a lawsuit accusing teams of illegally dispensing powerful narcotics and other drugs to keep players on the field without regard for their long-term health.
‘‘The first thing people ask is, knowing what happened, would you do it again?’’ said Wiley. ‘‘No. No I wouldn't.’’
The lawsuit was originally filed May 20 in US District Court in northern California and amended Wednesday to add 250 players, bringing the total to 750. Wiley, who played in Buffalo, San Diego, Dallas, and Jacksonville from 1997-2006, is the ninth player identified by name, joining former Bears Jim McMahon, Richard Dent, and Keith Van Horne, Jeremy Newberry, and others.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class certification, covers the years 1968-2008. It contends team physicians and trainers routinely — and often illegally — provided powerful narcotics and other controlled substances on game days to mask pain.
No ‘L’ in Super Bowl
The Super Bowl will scrap Roman numerals for a year. The 50th edition of the game will be played in February 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif., and the NFL said it will be called ‘‘Super Bowl 50’’ instead of ‘‘Super Bowl L.’’ In 2017, the league will revert to Roman numerals, referring to the 51st edition as ‘‘Super Bowl LI.’’ Starting last April, NFL executives viewed more than 70 potential logos for the 2016 game. They found it’s hard to build an attractive image around what league vice president Jaime Weston calls ‘‘the lonely L.’’ Using the big 5-0 instead had the added benefit of emphasizing the significance of the Super Bowl’s 50th iteration . . . Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes confirmed he was driving the second car in an alleged race that led to teammate Marcell Dareus crashing his 2012 Jaguar into a tree last week. ‘‘I was there. I was involved in it,’’ said Hughes. Hughes said Hamburg Town, N.Y., police have contacted him regarding his role in the accident, which occurred near Ralph Wilson Stadium about three hours after the team ended a minicamp practice Friday. He added no other Bills players were involved. His comments came a day after police announced Dareus had been arrested and charged with reckless endangerment and ticketed for several violations, including drag racing . . . Giants defensive back Jayron Hosley was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the substance abuse policy. He is eligible to participate in offseason and preseason practices and games. Earlier this week, the Giants cut safety Will Hill after he was suspended for six games under the drug policy.Material from wire services was used in this report.