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Chargers keep Sproles, release DL Williams

Speedy little Darren Sproles is staying with the Chargers after all. San Diego placed the maximum first- and third-round tender on Sproles yesterday, one of two surprise moves in the hours before free agency began.

The Chargers also released tackle Jamal Williams, a 12-year veteran who has been the run-stuffing anchor of the defensive line.

Sproles was offered a contract for $7,283,000. If the five-year veteran signs an offer sheet with another team, San Diego will have the right to match the offer or receive first- and third-round draft picks as compensation for losing him.

Austin likely to return

The Cowboys gave restricted free agent Miles Austin the highest possible tender offer, requiring any team that signs the Pro Bowl receiver to give up first- and third-round picks as compensation. The move likely means Austin will return to Dallas next season.

Bengals release ColesFormer Jet Laveranues Coles is a free agent after a disappointing season with the Bengals, who released the 32-year-old receiver exactly one year after he signed a four-year deal . . . In the first major moves under coach Mike Shanahan and general manager Bruce Allen, the Redskins released seven players 30 or older, including receiver Antwaan Randle El . . . The Panthers cut quarterback Jake Delhomme, about a year after they gave him a lucrative contract extension only to watch him have his worst season as a pro. The Panthers still owe the 35-year-old Delhomme about $12.5 million in guaranteed money. - AP

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