Bolts lock up top pick

Tomlinson signs for $38 million

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2001

SAN DIEGO -- Running back LaDainian Tomlinson agreed Tuesday night to a six-year, $38 million deal with the San Diego Chargers, his agent said.

Tomlinson, the fifth pick overall in April's draft and San Diego's last unsigned player, will get a $10.5 million signing bonus.

Tomlinson is due in camp on Wednesday, Tom Condon said from Kansas City. Tomlinson's holdout lasted nearly a month, and he missed the Chargers' first two exhibition games.

''I'm happy for LT and I hope he's a great player for the Chargers,'' Condon said.

Tomlinson had flown from San Diego to meet with Condon on Tuesday.

''We renewed the effort this week, and today LT came in and visited us in Kansas City,'' Condon said. ''We showed him what were going to try to do, and then he went back to San Diego.''

''There were compromises by both parties,'' Chargers negotiator Ed McGuire said Tuesday night.

''It's unfortunate that it took this long. But sometimes it happens. We're just happy it's done,'' McGuire said.

After trading the top pick in the draft to Atlanta -- which the Falcons used to take Michael Vick -- the Chargers took Tomlinson at No. 5.

They hope the two-time NCAA rushing champion from TCU can revive their running game, which was the worst in the NFL last year. The Chargers averaged just 66 yards a game and finished an NFL-worst 1-15.

They've been hard-hit by injuries at running back in camp, and their offensive line is inexperienced and banged up.

Tomlinson agreed two weeks after quarterback Drew Brees ended his holdout with the Chargers. Brees, the first pick in the second round, also is represented by Condon.

Brooks wins Saints' starting job over Blake

THIBODAUX, La. -- Aaron Brooks, who led New Orleans to its first playoff victory ever, is the starting quarterback for the Saints.

Brooks beat out Jeff Blake, whom he replaced last season when he broke a foot.

''Jeff is coming off an injury, and it takes time to get back to 100 percent,'' coach Jim Haslett said Tuesday. ''We weren't trying to replace Jeff. He was the guy we signed last year to be our quarterback. It just so happened he got hurt. Aaron stepped in and did a great job and he really took over the job.''

The Saints acquired Brooks in a trade with Green Bay during training camp last summer. He became New Orleans' starter after Blake broke his right foot against Oakland in the 11th week of the season.

Brooks passed for a team-record 441 yards against Denver and led the Saints to their first playoff victory over St. Louis.

Brooks apparently secured his hold on the starting spot this spring when he was able to work during minicamps and coaching sessions while Blake was still rehabilitating.

''It's been everything,'' general manager Randy Mueller said. ''It's been all spring. Aaron's been sharp. Not to take anything away from Jeff, but Aaron's been playing at a high level.''

Boselli out of Thursday's game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A knee injury will keep Jaguars tackle Tony Boselli out of Thursday's exhibition game against Kansas City. Beyond that, Boselli is making no predictions.

''I'm going one day at a time,'' Boselli said Tuesday. ''I'd like to be out there the whole preseason, but I can't. The best thing I can do is try to get ready, and be there whenever it's time for me to play.''

Boselli had a scare Sunday when his right knee gave out and he collapsed on the field during practice. He was diagnosed with a bone bruise, and no structural damage.

He began rehabilitation immediately, and was moving around Tuesday without crutches and without much pain. Coach Tom Coughlin said he believes Boselli, a five-time Pro Bowl selection, will return for the Sept. 9 opener against Pittsburgh.

Redskin's George returns to practice

CARLISLE, Pa. -- Jeff George returned to practice with the Washington Redskins after two weeks nursing a sore throwing arm and made 60 throws, the last a 25-yard rope to Michael Westbrook in the end zone.

The team also signed former Ram Keith Lyle to back up David Terrell at safety. Terrell has never started an NFL game.

But George made the day.

Coaches and teammates watched anxiously as the quarterback -- who has been out with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder -- took part in his first regular practice in more than two weeks.

''There's nothing like having the starting quarterback out there,'' rookie receiver Rod Gardner said. ''It just raises up everybody's confidence. You're excited, more enthusiastic, you're ready to rally around him to get things done. It seems forever since Jeff's been in there. It was like a new face in practice.''

George had been lobbing balls on the sidelines as part of a strict comeback regimen for the past few days, but this was a regular-speed 7-on-7 drill that went well enough to give him an outside chance to start Friday against Cleveland.

''I felt pretty good. I'm right on course,'' George said. ''I did everything I wanted to do today. I probably could've thrown the ball a little harder, but I wasn't actually thinking about it.''


OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- Tight end David LaFleur, Dallas' first-round pick in 1997, was released Tuesday after failing a physical.

LaFleur was nagged by a groin injury last season, and a herniated disc in his lower back sometimes makes walking painful.

The 6-foot-7, 272-pound LaFleur had 85 receptions for 729 yards and 12 touchdowns in his four-year career, but it was his blocking skills that the Cowboys coveted.

With LaFleur, running back Emmitt Smith rushed for 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons.

''He was a warrior, he played hurt,'' owner Jerry Jones said. ''When he was able to perform, he was very important to what we were trying to do.''


PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) -- Buffalo quarterback Rob Johnson returned to action after missing a week of practice and Saturday's preseason game with a sprained index finger on his right throwing hand.

After getting limited action in the morning session, Johnson took over the Bills' first-team offense in the afternoon. While bobbling one snap, he threw 17 passes during team drills, progressively getting stronger -- smoking his final throw into the arms of tight end Jay Riemersma.

''Anybody that misses a little bit of time it takes a little bit to get back into the rhythm,'' Riemersma said of Johnson. ''Obviously, toward the end of practice, he got back in rhythm.''


PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Placekicker David Akers has signed a contract extension with the Eagles that will keep him with the team through the 2007 season.

The 26-year-old is in his third season with the Eagles after signing as a free agent in 1999.

In his first season with Philadelphia, Akers was a kickoff specialist and handled long field goal attempts. Last season, he took over the kicking duties on a full-time basis and, by season's end, shattered the club's record for points in one season with 121.

Akers was a Pro Bowl alternate last season after making 29-of-33 attempts including a team mark of 13 straight.


FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) -- Robert Edwards and Andy Katzenmoyer, the Patriots' first-round draft picks in 1998 and 1999, are still sidelined, leaving their futures a question mark.

They've practiced little and haven't played at all in the team's two exhibition games. With just two games left and 19 days before the Patriots' season opener, coach Bill Belichick needs to see more.

''The sand in the hour glass is dropping out,'' Belichick said Tuesday. ''You can't put it back in. So they're running out of time.''

After rushing for 1,115 yards as a rookie, Edwards suffered a devastating injury to his left knee and nerves in the left leg and missed the last two seasons. His knee has felt fine this summer, but he's been slowed by a groin injury since early in camp.

Katzenmoyer started 11 games in his first season but played only eight all last year when he was bothered by back and neck injuries. He underwent neck surgery in the off-season but hasn't participated in contact drills since experiencing neck pain the first week of camp.


DENVER (AP) -- When the Denver Broncos christen their new stadium Saturday night, starting defensive tackle Chester McGlockton will have to settle to be a spectator.

McGlockton, one of Denver's key defensive free-agent additions this off-season, will not play in the team's preseason game at Invesco Field at Mile High because of a sprained left knee.

McGlockton was injured Monday night when teammate Trevor Pryce accidentally hit him in the leg on a play that was whistled dead during Denver's 22-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Tests showed a sprain of the medial collateral ligament in McGlockton's left knee. He will be re-evaluated before Denver's final preseason game on Aug. 31.


INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Colts running back Edgerrin James hasn't played a down in two preseason games, and this week, backup Lennox Gordon is expected to sit out at Minnesota because of a rib injury.

So the Colts likely will start undrafted free agent Dominic Rhodes, who is likely to get his most extensive playing time of the preseason on Friday night.

Rhodes is listed as the Colts' No. 3 running back, and when he has played, he has been impressive. In the preseason opener, Rhodes carried seven times for 39 yards, caught one pass for 12 yards, recovered two fumbles and scored on a 2-point conversion run.

Last week Rhodes played nearly a half after replacing Gordon, who was injured early in the game, carrying 13 times for 35 yards and catching four passes for 35 yards in a 27-26 loss to Detroit.


EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- Running back Doug Chapman won't play in the Vikings' exhibition game Friday against Indianapolis because of a thigh bruise.

''Most of the time in the preseason, with a guy you're counting on, he's got to be close to 100 percent,'' coach Dennis Green said.

Moe Williams is also still hobbled by a foot injury, so rookie Michael Bennett -- who has rushed 16 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns in Minnesota's first two games -- should see extensive playing time. Bennett is the top candidate to replace the retired Robert Smith, but Chapman could also play prominently in the Vikings' plans at that position.

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