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Archive for Saturday, July 27, 2002

Camps Roundup: Ricky Williams might get new contract

Dolphins, agents in ‘fruitful’ discussions

July 27, 2002

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The Miami Dolphins have begun talking with agents for running back Ricky Williams about a new contract.

Team officials met for about an hour Thursday with agents Leigh Steinberg, Jeff Moorad and Warren Moon, the former NFL quarterback. When the Dolphins traded for Williams in March, Steinberg said he wanted a new deal.

"I think we had fruitful discussions," Steinberg said.

He wasn't Williams' agent when the running back signed an eight-year deal as a rookie with the New Orleans Saints in 1999. Williams received an $8.8 million signing bonus in exchange for low base salaries, including $450,000 this season.

"I've been clear since I started representing Ricky how I feel about the inadequacies of this contract," Steinberg said. "That's not the Dolphins' fault."

Vikings

Bryant McKinnie, Minnesota's unsigned first-round draft pick, was a no-show for the beginning of the Mike Tice era with the Vikings.

Nearly half of the 86 players reporting to camp Friday are new to the Vikings.

One of McKinnie's agents, Ben Dogra, said he was sending a proposal to the team, but he added an agreement wasn't imminent.

More solemnly, discussion turned to the absence of another player Korey Stringer, who died of heatstroke on the second day of last year's camp.

"I think about Korey a lot he's always going to be with us," Dante Culpepper said. "He's not here physically, but he's here spiritually."

The Vikings say they're not dissatisfied with the way the heat was handled before, but they do plan extra precautions this year including keeping a doctor at all practices and placing large sun canopies to offer shade on the field.

Players will undergo a conditioning test set for Saturday morning that they must pass before they can practice. It involves running 14 consecutive 40-yard dashes at full speed with minimal rest, between 20 and 30 seconds, in between.

Lions

Detroit officially opened its new $36 million practice facility Friday, hoping to forget its 0-12 start and 2-14 finish in its first season under coach Marty Mornhinweg and president Matt Millen.

Millen, who has four Super Bowl rings from the three teams he played for, was right in the middle of the opening session, patting players on the back and smiling in hopes that the team can right itself this season.

Colts

Defensive tackle Larry Tripplett, the Colts second-round draft pick, signed a four-year contract, leaving just first-rounder Dwight Freeney unsigned.

Freeney said earlier this week that he expects a deal to be completed before training camp begins Sunday.

Tripplett and Freeney both participated in this week's three-day rookie practices in Indianapolis. They are expected to anchor a revamped defensive line under new coach Tony Dungy.

Redskins

Defensive lineman Daryl Gardener, who arrived in Carlisle, Pa., late Thursday, had a workout with coaches Friday and stayed to watch part of morning practice.

He then canceled a planned visit to St. Louis while his agent continued negotiations with the Redskins. Gardener, whose history of injuries and clashes with teammates and coaches led Miami to release him earlier this year, also is negotiating with Detroit.

Browns

While waiting for first-round draft pick William Green to sign a contract and report to training camp, the Cleveland Browns signed running back Autry Denson to a one-year contract.

Green remained a holdout as the club tries to finalize a deal with the former Boston College running back. Lal Heneghan, the club's top negotiator, resumed talks with Green's agent, Tom Condon.

Titans

The Tennessee Titans opened camp for the first time since 1982 without Bruce Matthews, one of the best linemen ever.

The Titans expected the 19-year veteran to retire before this camp started, but getting used to taking the field without him will take some time.

"Just not to see him here, it's strange because this is my eighth year, and Bruce was here since I came in 1995," quarterback Steve McNair said. "For him to retire, it's good for him. As a team, we miss him a lot."

Also absent from the first full workout was their No. 1 draft pick Albert Haynesworth, who was only 2 years old when Matthews started to play for the then Houston Oliers.

49ers

Defensive end Josh Shaw agreed to a four-year contract worth more than $1.44 million.

Shaw, a fifth-round pick from Michigan State last April, was the last of the 49ers' 10 draft picks to sign. He has been rehabilitating a knee injury since training camp workouts on Monday.

During the morning workout at the University of the Pacific, running back Jamal Robertson received a scare after a collision with wide receiver Cedrick Wilson during a 7-on-7 drill. Both players hit the ground hard. Wilson got up immediately and Robertson remained motionless on the turf for almost 10 minutes.

Robertson, the 2002 NFL Europe offensive MVP, is expected to be out at least until next week because of a lower back strain. Preliminary X-rays and an MRI exam were negative.

Bengals

Offensive tackle John Jackson, the Bengals' oldest player, will have his heart checked at a hospital after two stress tests showed slightly abnormal results.

Jackson, 37, is scheduled for an angiogram Monday at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati.

If the angiogram finds nothing wrong, Jackson could return to workouts in a week or two.

Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys are moving all of their workouts inside the Alamodome.

They aren't trying to escape the heat. The temporary grass field set up in the parking lot of the Alamodome isn't quite ready for more than 90 players to practice on it.

Running back Emmitt Smith was among several players who expressed concerns about the surface after going on it for the first time Friday. The Cowboys had been scheduled to open camp workouts on the field Saturday morning.

Also, the Cowboys signed No. 1 pick Roy Williams and the rest of their top-four selections Friday, and will have all nine of their drafted rookies on the field for their first practice.

The Cowboys also signed their second-round picks center/offensive guard Andre Gurode and receiver Antonio Bryant and third-round pick, cornerback Derek Ross, to seven-year deals.

Cardinals

Defensive tackle Mao Tosi won't be participating when the team begins two-a-day workouts Saturday at Northern Arizona University.

Wide receiver Frank Sanders will undergo minor surgery Tuesday to remove a piece of glass from the middle finger of his right hand. Coach Dave McGinnis said Sanders cut himself when he broke a vase about three weeks ago.

First-round pick Wendall Bryant, the 12th selection overall, was not in camp.

Jets

The New York Jets signed second-round draft choice Jon McGraw on Friday, the last of the team's five picks to agree to terms. McGraw, a safety from Kansas State, was the 57th overall pick in April's draft.

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