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Archive for Friday, July 29, 2005

Surprise! Players report

James, Walker eschew holding out

July 29, 2005

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So much for agent Drew Rosenhaus' threats to keep some of the NFL's premier players out of training camp.

Edgerrin James took the field Thursday for the Indianapolis Colts, Javon Walker showed up in Green Bay, and there's every indication Terrell Owens will be Bethlehem, Pa., when Eagles veterans report Monday.

In fact, the team with the biggest immediate problems seems to be the New England Patriots, who will seek an unprecedented third straight Super Bowl and their fourth in five years.

Ted Johnson, who started at inside linebacker alongside Tedy Bruschi last season, decided to retire a week after Bruschi announced he wouldn't play this season after suffering a small stroke following the Super Bowl. And Richard Seymour, the two-time All-Pro defensive lineman, was listed on the Patriots' "did not report" list.

Another no-show Thursday was John Abraham, the New York Jets' star defensive end. He has been designated the team's franchise player, but has not signed the tender offer.

But the Rosenhaus clients seemed to accept the fact that a contract is a contract and it's better to show up.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, right, welcomes running back Edgerrin James, left, and wide receiver Marvin Harrison to camp. The Colts worked out Thursday in Terre Haute, Ind.

Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy, right, welcomes running back Edgerrin James, left, and wide receiver Marvin Harrison to camp. The Colts worked out Thursday in Terre Haute, Ind.

"That's one of the things I can't do anything about," James said after sneaking by the media through a back door at the Colts' training facility in Terre Haute, Ind., then trotting onto the field for practice Thursday morning.

He had already signed a one-year contract after being tagged as the team's franchise player for the tender salary of slightly more than $8 million.

Walker arrived Wednesday in Green Bay, a few hours after the Packers' shareholders urged team executives not to accede to his (and Rosenhaus') requests to redo a contract he signed after being chosen in the first round of the 2002 draft. Walker struggled until last season, when he had 89 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Deuce McAllister agreed to a seven-year contract extension with New Orleans. The deal was announced a half-hour before the Saints' first mandatory meeting of training camp.

McAllister had said expected to get the second-largest contract awarded to an NFL running back, also making him the highest paid player in franchise history. San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who has an eight-year, $60 million contract, is the league's highest-paid running back.

As for New England, Johnson's retirement means that the starting inside linebackers on the current depth chart are former Chief Monty Beisel and Chad Brown.

In other camp news:

¢ Dwight Freeney, last season's league leader in sacks, sat out the Colts' morning practice because of a shoulder injury.

¢ Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Pace was on the field at the start of the St. Louis Rams' camp for the first time in three years.

¢ The San Francisco 49ers signed running back Frank Gore to a three-year contract, meaning all 11 draft picks are under contract two days before the first training camp practice.

¢ Denver signed second-round pick Darrent Williams, its top choice this year, to a four-year contract. Williams, a cornerback from Oklahoma State, is expected to compete for playing time on defense and is the favorite to return kicks and punts this season.

¢ The Jets signed second-round pick, kicker Mike Nugent, just in time for the start of camp.

¢ Rod Gardner passed his physical with the Panthers, completing his trade from the Redskins for a sixth-round draft pick.

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