- Associated Press - Monday, September 3, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Maurice Jones-Drew will begin the season much like he did his NFL career: as a backup and third-down running back.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey says he expects Jones-Drew to rotate in on third downs Sunday at Minnesota. Mularkey says the NFL’s leading rusher in 2011 also will “get a series” in place of starter Rashad Jennings.

Mularkey says Jones-Drew looks to be in playing shape. “If you look at him physically, yes, I’d say he looks game-ready,” says Mularkey, who adds that he will have a better feel for MJD’s readiness after a fully padded practice Wednesday.

Jones-Drew ended a 38-day holdout Sunday without a new contract. He asked the team to rework the final two years of his five-year, $31 million contract, and the Jaguars declined.

49ers’ Haralson placed on IR

SAN FRANCISCO — The San Francisco 49ers lost a key member of their talented defense after placing linebacker Parys Haralson on injured reserve. San Francisco also signed linebacker Clark Haggans to a one-year contract to help fill the void.

Details of Haralson’s injury weren’t disclosed, but he is believed to have injured an arm in an exhibition game Aug. 26.

Around the league

BEARS: Chicago signed defensive tackle Amobi Okoye to a one-year contract and waived DT Brian Price. Okoye, the 10th overall pick by Houston in 2007, played for the Bears last season and had four sacks. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Tampa Bay during the offseason, had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and reached an injury settlement Friday.

RAIDERS: Oakland cornerback Joselio Hanson to bolster their secondary. The Raiders released 2011 third-round pick DeMarcus Van Dyke on Monday to make room for Hanson on the roster. Hanson was released last week by Philadelphia.

STEELERS: Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace said here’s no need to hold him back for Sunday’s season opener in Denver despite a holdout that didn’t end until last week. The Pro Bowl player insists the Steelers don’t need to “limit” him as he get up to speed on new offensive coordinator Todd Haley’s playbook. Pittsburgh is hoping linebacker James Harrison can play Sunday night. Harrison, who underwent minor knee surgery last month, went through most of practice Monday.

BILLS: Buffalo backup quarterback Tyler Thigpen accepted a $1 million pay cut to improve his chances of staying on the team entering the season. Thigpen now is set to make a base salary of $1.5 million in the second year of a three-year contract he signed last summer.

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