Three top picks sign contracts; Leaf retires

Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2002

Three first-round picks agreed to deals Saturday as tackle Mike Williams signed with the Bills, running back William Green signed with the Browns and defensive end Dwight Freeney signed with the Colts.

Williams, the fourth player taken in the draft, is scheduled to join the team Sunday for the Bills' first full-squad training camp session.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the contract is expected to make Williams the highest-paid rookie in Bills history and the team's third-highest paid player behind quarterback Drew Bledsoe and receiver Eric Moulds.

Green, the 16th overall pick, ended his five-day holdout when he agreed to terms on a five-year, $7.850 million contract.

His deal was finalized shortly after Green's agent, Tom Condon, had initially turned down the package.

Browns president Carmen Policy said the sides agreed on a seven-year deal that will be voided to five years if Green reaches some early incentives.

Condon would not comment, but said Green would fly to Cleveland and may practice with the Browns on Sunday.

That's a relief to coach Butch Davis.

''I am glad the deal is done,'' Davis said. ''I felt confident everything would work out. The upside is William will be here for a significant amount of training camp.''

Terms of Freeney's deal were not disclosed, but he is expected to report to the Colts' first day of training camp Sunday.


Coach Mike Holmgren decided not to try to talk Ryan Leaf into staying with Seattle.

Holmgren spoke to Leaf from the team's training camp facility after hearing of the quarterback's decision to retire.

''I hadn't seen him since our minicamps,'' Holmgren said Saturday as Seattle opened camp. ''We had a good conversation. It was pretty clear to me. I've talked to a lot players who decided not to play.

''I was surprised. I think he did a decent job in minicamps.''

Leaf did not show up for a quarterbacks meeting Thursday, and the Seahawks said Friday he told the team he was quitting. He has not spoken publicly about his decision or what he plans to do next.

''It became clear to me he had lost the fire and the passion to play,'' Holmgren said. ''Then, once you kind of sense that, it would probably be wrong of me to try and talk him into staying.''

Trent Dilfer is the Seahawks' starter heading into the season and Matt Hasselback will be his backup. Leaf was going to be competing with Jeff Kelly and Ryan Van Dyke for the No. 3 job.



Bryant McKinnie, taken seventh overall in the draft, still has not signed with the Vikings. He missed the team's first practice Saturday.

Ben Dogra, one of the offensive tackle's agents, said he spoke at length with the team Friday and would continue to negotiate over the weekend.

''We're trying to bridge some gaps here,'' Dogra said. ''We're trying to make progress.''

Also, the Vikings released tight end Johnny McWilliams.



Coach Jim Haslett does not have a new contract as training camp begins.

Haslett is in the final year of the original three-year contract he signed in 1999 with a base salary of $900,000. That deal places him in the bottom quarter of the NFL's 32 head coaches, according to published reports.

Haslett is believed to be seeking a five-year deal that averages $2.5 million a season.

General Manager Mickey Loomis and Haslett said they thought the negotiations were down to fine points. Haslett does not want negotiations to become a distraction this season.

Also, starting quarterback Aaron Brooks did not report to training camp, and Loomis believes Brooks is holding out.

Neither Brooks nor his agent have contacted the Saints or responded to calls from the team.



Cornerback Jason Sehorn does not expect to play in many of the Giants' preseason games because of weakness in his right knee after his third operation since 1998.

Sehorn also does not know if he will be ready in time for the season opener Sept. 5 against the San Francisco 49ers.



Coach Tom Coughlin reported no progress on the Jimmy Smith holdout front. The Jaguars apparently have an offer for a raise on the table and are waiting for Smith and agent Gary Uberstine to respond.

Also, defensive lineman Stalin Colinet twisted his knee in the morning practice Saturday. Results of an MRI exam weren't immediately available.



Quarterback Steve Beuerlein has looked sharp and thrown pain-free for the first two days of training camp after having elbow surgery Oct. 10.

Beuerlein had to cut short a minicamp in May after experiencing pain in his elbow, but began feeling better by the next minicamp a month later and started throwing the ball down the field more.

His progress should give him a good shot at earning the backup role behind Griese. Jarious Jackson and Todd Husak are also battling for the backup job.



Quarterback Sage Rosenfels tried his best Steve Spurrier impersonation at the end of Saturday morning's practice, volunteering to kick a 42-yard field goal at the end of the two-minute drill because neither of the team's real kickers was ready.

With Bryan Barker holding, Rosenfels shanked the kick wide left and short.

''I'm going to blame that one on Bryan,'' said Rosenfels, who last kicked in high school. ''I think the laces were pointed at me. Usually, I don't miss.''

Spurrier once kicked a game-winning field goal in a college game at Florida because he felt it was out of the regular kicker's range.

Also, receiver Darnerian McCants hurt his wrist during the morning practice. X-rays were negative, but he will have an MRI exam on Sunday. Guard David Loverne also will have an MRI exam on his sprained elbow.



Cincinnati coach Dick LeBeau said quarterbacks Jon Kitna and Gus Frerotte will compete during training camp to earn the starting job.

Kitna started all but one of the Bengals' games last season, and Frerotte, a nine-year journeyman, signed with the Bengals in May.

Should Frerotte get the nod, he would become the team's fifth opening-day starter in as many years.

Also in the mix is Akili Smith, the team's top draft pick in 1999.



Rookie Courtland Bullard and defensive end Lamanzar Williams left the Rams' two-hour afternoon workout early because of problems with the heat. Bullard also had problems during the team's minicamps dealing with heat.

Also, receiver Isaac Bruce showed up at training camp two hours after the St. Louis Rams' initial team meeting.

''If it was up to me, I wouldn't come,'' the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver said Saturday after the first of two opening-day workouts. ''It's not up to me, so I come.''



Cornerback Samari Rolle hurt his right foot Saturday afternoon and wound up on crutches, while top draft pick Albert Haynesworth missed his fifth training camp practice with the Tennessee Titans.

Rolle said he did not know exactly what was wrong, but his foot was swollen.

Rookie safety Tank Williams strained his hamstring while covering a pass during a team drill and will be day-to-day.

General manager Floyd Reese said he had not talked with Haynesworth's agents Saturday.

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