NFL notes

Giants release LB Michael Boley

After finishing next to last in the league, the New York Giants began a defensive facelift by releasing veteran linebacker Michael Boley.

A key part of the Giants' Super Bowl championship team a year ago, the 30-year-old Boley appeared in all 16 games last year with 11 starts but was hampered by hamstring, hip and shoulder injuries at various times. He finished on third the team with 84 tackles and had three interceptions, one in each of the first three games.

He had one year and about $4 million left on the five-year, $25 deal he signed when joining the Giants as a free agent in 2009 after four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons.

In his four seasons with New York, he played in 57 games with 50 starts, most of them at weakside linebacker. His had 315 tackles (237 solo), 3 ½ sacks, three interceptions, 15 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries, including a 65-yard return for a touchdown in 2011 and the 70-yarder in 2012.

In the Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in Indianapolis, he had a team-high 10 tackles.

"Michael Boley was brought here as a fast, athletic, versatile linebacker," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We recognized his special skills were in coverage. He's a smart player who made some big plays for us. He was an integral part of our Super Bowl XLVI championship team. Michael played outstanding football down the stretch for us that season."

The release of Boley opens the door for third-year linebacker Jacquian Williams to play a bigger role.

Boley was a leader on the defense, but changes happen after a unit finishes 31st and plays poorly late in the season, which the defense did in one-sided losses to Atlanta and the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.

Fans march with Ravens' parade to packed stadium

Baltimore celebrated with its Super Bowl champion Ravens on Tuesday, with thousands of fans in purple lining the streets and packing the team's stadium for a celebration.

Fans filled the square in front of City Hall and cheered when the team arrived and when players held the silver Lombardi trophy aloft. The Mayor's Office of Emergency Management estimated that 200,000 people took part in the celebration in Charm City, including at City Hall, along the parade route and at the stadium.

Coach John Harbaugh thanked the fans for their support, and safety Ed Reed sang the melody of Eddie Money's "Two Tickets to Paradise." Retiring middle linebacker Ray Lewis, the only current player to have started with the team when it came to the city from Cleveland in 1996, told fans the team had fulfilled a promise to go to New Orleans and win.

"The city of Baltimore - I love you for ever and ever and ever and ever," Lewis told fans in front of City Hall.

The players were about an hour late arriving, but fans waited to see them pile into military vehicles and set off on their drive to the stadium. The city shot off purple and white confetti as the parade started and the Queen song "We Are the Champions" played over a loudspeaker. Quarterback Joe Flacco and several other players rode in their own camouflage-colored military vehicles, while others stood on a float decorated like a football field with a yellow goal post.

Lewis had a position of honor in a military vehicle that brought up the end of the procession. He touched his hand to his heart and gave fans a double thumbs-up as he started on the parade route. Fans followed behind, surrounding the back of the vehicle.

Fans wore every article of purple clothing imaginable. In addition to team jerseys, people were dressed in purple hats and scarves, purple Mardi Gras beads, purple wigs. One man wore a Ravens flag as a cape, and many women came wearing purple lipstick and eye shadow.

Lions cut Vanden Bosch, Peterman

The Detroit Lions released two veteran starters Tuesday, cutting defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and guard Stephen Peterman.

Vanden Bosch signed a four-year contract with Detroit worth $26 million when he arrived as a free agent before the 2010 season. He quickly earned respect in the locker room, but the price tag may have been too high this year for the 34-year-old.

Vanden Bosch has earned three Pro Bowl selections in 11 NFL seasons. He made 15 ½ sacks in 43 games for Detroit and started all 16 games last season.

"Heard they just (released) the one guy that took me under his wing, a great teammate, a great person, my brother KVB," Lions defensive end Cliff Avril posted on Twitter. Avril signed a one-year franchise tender before last season, so it's not clear whether he'll be back either.

Peterman, who turned 31 last month, started all 48 regular-season games for the Lions over the last three seasons, along with their playoff game at New Orleans in January 2012.

The Lions went 4-12 last season. They released wide receiver Titus Young on Monday.

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