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NU's Ezekiel will sign with Buffalo

The NFL draft ended without Liam Ezekiel's name being called, but the Northeastern linebacker's disappointment didn't last long.

About an hour after the draft ended Sunday, the Buffalo Bills called Ezekiel's agent to invite the four-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference player to their minicamp this weekend.

Ezekiel is expected to sign with the team as a free agent Thursday."I'm going to have to work hard to get a spot," Ezekiel said yesterday. "It's pretty much a tryout for me. I have to prove myself all over again, which is fine with me."

The 6-foot-1-inch, 245-pound middle linebacker was a two-time first-team Division 1-AA All-American. He finished as NU's career leader in tackles, with 489, and was a finalist last season for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in 1-AA.

Locals catch on

The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to free agent deals with two New England players, receivers Grant Adams of Boston College and Jason Peebler of the University of Massachusetts.

Adams led BC in receiving the past two seasons, totaling 98 catches for 1,465 yards, and eight touchdowns. Peebler left UMass with the second-most career receiving yards (2,395), career receiving touchdowns (27), second-highest career per-catch average (19.4), and third-most career receptions (123).

Other New England players agreeing to free agent deals included BC defensive tackle Tim Bulman (Milton) by the Arizona Cardinals and three from Maine -- running back Marcus Williams with the Indianapolis Colts, receiver Christian Pereira with the Green Bay Packers, and defensive back Brandon McGowan with the Chicago Bears.

Another UMass player, fullback Rich Demers (East Boston), signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, and Southern Connecticut State linebacker Sarth Benoit signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings cut Mixon

The Vikings released veteran defensive end Kenny Mixon. The seven-year veteran, who had 46 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks last season, ran into trouble off the field several times in his three seasons with the Vikings . . . The Detroit Lions released receiver Az-Zahir Hakim and free safety Brock Marion, and signed defensive tackle Brandon Kennedy to a one-year deal. Hakim became expendable when the Lions drafted Mike Williams and signed Kevin Johnson last week . . . Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin skipped the first voluntary on-field workout because he's unhappy with his contract. The Cardinals also announced two free agent signings: quarterback Tim Chang of Hawaii and wide receiver and former quarterback Carlyle Holiday of Notre Dame.

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