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shadow walker


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dolphins Tender McKinney And Romero
March 1, 2005


The Miami Dolphins today tendered center Seth McKinney and defensive tackle Dario Romero, their only two restricted free agents.

Both were tendered at the original draft round compensation level. McKinney entered the league as a third-round draft choice in 2002 while Romero came into the league as an undrafted free agent
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cornerbacks will remain high priority in draft
By Vic Carucci
National Editor, NFL.com

Miami's Antrel Rolle is regarded by many experts as the top cornerback in the 2005 NFL Draft.
INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 1, 2005 -- Given the greater emphasis on rules prohibiting defenders from making contact with receivers beyond 5 yards, you might think that NFL teams would shy away from investing first-round draft picks in cornerbacks.

Think again.

There are at least a half-dozen cornerbacks that figure to be selected in the first round on April 23, and that could very well be more first-rounders than any other position has to offer.

Regardless of the officials' enforcement, general managers and coaches know that they still need good cover people to help minimize the damage opponents can do through the air. The list of teams that showed clear vulnerability in their respective secondaries is long. It includes three of the top teams at the end of last season -- the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. The Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys also show up on that list.

Defenses can utilize more zone coverage to keep cornerbacks out of situations in which they feel compelled to make illegal contact with receivers. But they can't stay away from man-to-man forever.

"I think people still realize corners, no matter what you do, at some time they're going to be on an island and you'd better have good ones," said Atlanta Falcons general manager Rich McKay, co-chairman of the league's competition committee. "So I think they continue to get paid at a very high rate and I don't think the emphasis of the rule is going to devalue corners."

As many as seven cornerbacks could become first-rounders, beginning with the University of Miami's Antrel Rolle, who should be chosen within the top 10.

"For me, I don't think it'll be a major adjustment," Rolle said of the way NFL officials focus on contact beyond 5 yards. "I try to do my damage at the line of scrimmage as soon as possible. And pretty much I run with (the receiver), follow his hips from there. So I don't think it'll be a big adjustment for me."

Among the other elite players at the position are Adam (Pac-Man) Jones of West Virginia, Brandon Browner of Oregon State, Carlos Rogers of Auburn, Corey Webster of LSU, Justin Miller of Clemson and Marlin Jackson of Michigan.

They don't sound any more concerned with the adjustment to league's rules enforcement than Rolle.

"I can put my hands on guys within 5 yards and I have the speed to run with them," Rogers said.
As always, speed is a primary asset at the position, even though the trend at receiver is for larger and more physical athletes. However, as McKay points out, the extra enforcement of the no-contact-beyond-5-yards rule should discourage teams from seeking cornerbacks who put more emphasis on contact than coverage.

"I think it may change who (the cornerbacks) are, what traits they bring to the table," McKay said. "The trait of being able to grab, hold, turn, throw people to the ground ... hopefully that trait, past 5 yards, has been devalued."
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shadow walker


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Texans ink two more
HoustonTexans.com


HOUSTON Ė The Houston Texans have agreed to contracts with CB Jason Bell and FB Moran Norris, it was announced today.
Norris (6-1, 250) played in 12 games, starting four. He has started 13 games over the past two seasons and has been the primary lead blocker for the Texans running game that has rushed for an average of 110.4 yards per game. In 2004, the Texans running game produced a 125.8 yard average in games he was in the lineup. Norris caught four passes for 13 yards and recorded his first NFL carry for no yards.

Norris, a native Houstonian, was apart of a Texans running game that produced 103 rushing first downs, which ranked 10th in the NFL. The Texans running game produced 46 runs of 10 yards or better. Norris was originally claimed off waivers from the New Orleans Saints (9/18/02). The former Kansas Jayhawk played at Madison High School in Houston.

Bell (6-0, 186), a fifth-year defensive back out of U.C.L.A., has become a special teams standout since the Texans claimed him off waivers from Dallas prior to the teamís inaugural season. He led the Texans in special teams tackles in 2002, the season his teammates selected him as the teamís first winner of the Ed Block Courage Award. Bell was chosen for the award because he broke his arm and returned to action after only missing three games. Bellís 2004 season was also cut short when he broke his foreman in the second quarter at Indianapolis (11/14/04).

Over the last three seasons (35 games) Bell has accumulated 35 special teams tackles. Prior to joining the Texans, Bell registered 21 special teams tackles for Dallas as an undrafted rookie. He played quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back at Millikan High School in Long Beach, Calif.

Following are the free agents the Texans have signed:

CB Jason Bell (6-0, 186)

CB Demarcus Faggins (5-10, 178)

LB Morlon Greenwood (6-0, 238)

NT Junior Ioane (6-4, 332)

FB Moran Norris (6-1, 250)

NT Seth Payne (6-4, 315)

LB DaShon Polk (6-2, 240)
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't worry, you'll see that I'm fast


(Oklahoma free safety Brodney Pool enters the 2005 NFL Draft as one of the top defensive backs available. With good size and a nose for the football, Pool declared early for the NFL following one of his best seasons with the Sooners. He had nine pass deflections, two interceptions and 65 unassisted tackles in 2004, and leaves OU with nine career interceptions, two career sacks, 15 tackles for 40 yards lost and 171 total tackles. Pool will give a weekly look into his life as he gets ready for the draft. This week, he discusses the decision not to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine.)


(March 4, 2005) -- I'm going to talk about a hot topic over the past few days: working out at the combine. Many members of the media and NFL coaches have talked about how it was a bad thing for draftees not to run and how it would hurt the draft status of those players who chose not to work out vs. those that did.

My agent and I decided it was best for me to wait to work out until my Pro Day, which is March 9 at Oklahoma. I can't speak for everyone, but I'd like to take this time to explain why I chose not to work out at the combine.

From the moment I landed in Indianapolis, people were pressuring me to run, lift and do all the drills. They were saying that it was the perfect place to show that you can compete against the rest of the draft class. They also talked about the advantages of running at the combine in front of all 32 teams and most of the league's head coaches. I understand all of that, but by now I would hope that people are familiar with me from watching Oklahoma game film. If they were interested in me at the combine, then I'm sure they'll be interested in seeing me at my Pro Day, and it would probably be that way whether I worked out or not.

In Indianapolis, people would ask me and I would tell them I wasn't working out. I just kept a smile on my face and stayed respectful. I'm pretty sure it made some people groan.

When the time came to lift weights, they brought us into a big room that had around 100 coaches and scouts in there. They made all of us who were not working out stand up in front of them and explain why we were not participating. It was funny to me. I got up there, introduced myself and said that I was doing my lifting at the Pro Day. How did they react? I can't say for sure -- I looked straight ahead at the back wall and not at their faces. I knew that it wasn't what they wanted to hear.


Brodney Pool feels most comforable running and lifting in the friendly confines of OU's facility.
As for the 40-yard dash, running is running, and everybody is going to know everybody's best times before the draft anyway. I'm going to be competing against the people at my position no matter when I run, so I just felt like I'd run at my place.

To be honest, I even thought about changing my mind and giving it a shot in Indy, but I chose to use the combine as a place to highlight my personality, not my physical tools. The NFL knows about Brodney Pool the football player. Not many of them knew about Brodney Pool the person. So that was my main focus at the combine.

Interviewing with the clubs there was a tough task. One after another I was meeting with different teams, talking about myself and what I could bring to their franchises. There definitely wasn't one team that blew me away or impressed me the most -- they all impressed me. I couldn't even begin to name all the teams I talked to either. And don't even ask who I spoke to -- I looked at whoever was addressing me, be it coaches, scouts or general managers. It was one of those things that happened so fast but took up several hours. I left the combine feeling as if I made a good impression on everyone I talked to.

The worst part of the combine wasn't dealing with the pressure of not running, it was being under an MRI machine for what seemed like four hours! When you arrive in Indianapolis, they take you right to the hospital so they can check you out and see if you're healthy and all that. I haven't been hurt since I banged up my left ankle in high school in 2001, but they really checked out my right ankle and my left knee. The knee I can understand since I had bruised it in high school, but I've never even hurt my right ankle before. Maybe they saw something, but I don't know what it could be since I have never been bothered by it before. In total I was at the hospital for like six hours, and it was bad, but it's all worth it.

It's all just part of the process of being in the NFL. A lot of people think that by not working out I hurt my chances of getting drafted high. I disagree. Some people put a lot of emphasis on the combine, but I don't see how not working out hurt me. When I perform, I want to be at my best. The people who ran at the combine trained hard for two weeks or more just to be at their best, so I wanted to take an extra week to be at mine. I want to show the NFL my absolute best, and that's what they're going to see.

Next Wednesday is my Pro Day and I'll answer all the questions about my 40 time and my positional drills then. I've been training in Arizona and will spend a couple of days at home before the big day. I can't wait to get home, settle in, relax with my family, and then run the best 40-yard dash time I've ever run in my life.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cowboys Making A Big Splash In Free Agency
AP Sports




IRVING, Texas (AP) - Jerry Jones has never been shy about opening his wallet to bring free agents to the Dallas Cowboys. Yet even he has never been on a shopping spree like this.

On what Jones called "the most expensive day in Cowboys history," the team signed defensive tackle Jason Ferguson and guard Marco Rivera on Thursday and introduced cornerback Anthony Henry, who signed Wednesday.

The tab: $28 million in signing bonuses alone, enough for Jones to pull his pockets inside out to show they were empty when he finalized Rivera's deal.

"I'll do what it takes to get us to the Super Bowl," Jones said. "It's about winning."

Add in last week's deal with quarterback Drew Bledsoe and Dallas has filled its four most pressing needs just two days into the free-agent signing period. That's exactly the jolt the club was looking for after going 6-10 last season and heading into the second-to-last year of coach Bill Parcells' contract.

Jones had the salary cap room to chase free agents, so he did. He's also quickly closed in on making this his most expensive offseason, nearing the $32 million in signing bonuses spent in 2002. Difference is, most of the money that year went to re-sign their own players.

Now the money is going to outsiders - and in a notable way: The bonuses for Henry ($10 million up front for signing, another $1 million guaranteed later for reporting), Ferguson ($9 million) and Rivera ($9 million) are the biggest for someone not already on the roster since Deion Sanders got $13 million in 1995.


Jones was in a jovial mood by his third news conference of the day, perhaps partly from the relief of wrapping up nearly nonstop negotiations.

Team officials called Ferguson, Rivera and Henry within the first hour they were allowed. Jones personally flew to Memphis to pick up Ferguson at 7 a.m. Wednesday to begin wooing him. Henry also flew in early Wednesday, with Rivera arriving later in the day.

All three players signed for five years. Henry's deal is worth $25 million, Ferguson's is for $21.5 million and Rivera's is for $20 million. Bledsoe signed for $14 million over three years, with a $2 million bonus.

"They're expensive, but the value is there," Jones said.

Dallas still has more than $5 million left under the salary cap - even when factoring in money for draft picks - and Jones said he wants to add a safety. The Cowboys also would like linebackers, a receiver and a running back.

"We'll kind of let some things develop," he said.

Other than the 28-year-old Henry, the other newcomers are between 30 and 33. Jones said he was willing to give lucrative, long contracts to the 30-something signees because they've proven their durability. Rivera has played every game the last six seasons; Ferguson and Bledsoe haven't missed a game the last three years.

Jones also feels they are low risks because his staff is familiar with the players.

Like Bledsoe, Ferguson was drafted by Parcells; Parcells often calls taking Ferguson in the seventh round one of his best picks. Henry has no direct connection to Parcells, but Dallas' new secondary coach Todd Bowles is the only position coach Henry has had in the NFL, having worked together the past four years in Cleveland.

As for Rivera, he was drafted by the Packers when Parcells' close friend Ron Wolf was running the team. Plus, he's from Parcells' old stomping grounds on Long Island, which gives the coach some familiarity.

It's no coincidence that the Cowboys are putting most of their attention into upgrading a defense that went from allowing the fewest yards per game in the NFL in 2003 to middle-of-the-pack 16th last season. Only four teams gave up more points than the Cowboys did last season.

The 6-foot-3, 305-pound Ferguson will anchor a revamped defensive line, especially if the Cowboys shift from the 4-3 to a 3-4, a decision Jones said Thursday won't come until after the draft. Regardless, Ferguson will be a block-eating wide body to pair next to perennial Pro Bowl pick La'Roi Glover.
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saints sign former Eagles OL Mayberry

NFL.com wire reports

NEW ORLEANS (March 5, 2005) -- The New Orleans Saints signed former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jermane Mayberry to a four-year contract.

Mayberry, 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Eagles, helping the team reach the Super Bowl this year.

"Jermane has starting experience at every spot up front other than center," Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said. "His signing will have a positive impact on our entire offense, from both a production and leadership perspective."
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dolphins Sign Free Agent DE Vonnie Holliday
March 5, 2005


The Miami Dolphins today signed defensive end Vonnie Holliday to a two-year contract. Holliday, a former first-round draft choice of the Green Bay Packers, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons, including the last two with Kansas City. He was released by the Chiefs on February 22, 2005.

In his NFL career, the 6-5, 290-pounder has appeared in 91 regular season games, including 82 starts. During that time he has amassed 353 tackles, 37.5 sacks, two interceptions, six fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles and 27 passes defensed. As a rookie for Green Bay in 1998, he registered 39 tackles and a career-best eight sacks, tied for the most sacks by a rookie in Packers history. That year, he was a consensus all-rookie selection. In 2001, he recorded a career-high 81 tackles, including seven sacks, three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble, for the Packers. He signed with Kansas City as an unrestricted free agent in 2003, and in his first year with the Chiefs, he started all 16 games and posted 80 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Holliday was a four-year letterman (1994-97) at the University of North Carolina, during which time he played in 46 games, starting 28 of them. He racked up 162 tackles and 11 sacks as a Tar Heel, and was a first-team All-ACC choice as a senior. An outstanding athlete, Holliday lettered in football, basketball and baseball at Camden (S.C.) High School. He was born on December 11, 1975 in Camden, S.C.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 10:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

CURRENT POSITION: Specialists

Friday, March 4, 2005

"The Cowboys signed their first Exclusive Rights Free Agent on Friday, inking punter Mat McBriar for another year. In his first full season in the NFL, McBriar was solid in 2004, averaging 42.4 yards per punt, with a long of 68 yards. The Cowboys have four other ERFA to sign and expect to do so in the next two weeks. "
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Browns agree on trade for Dilfer
March 5, 2005


The Cleveland Browns and Seattle Seahawks have agreed in principle on a trade that would send the Seahawks veteran QB Trent Dilfer to the Browns for a fourth round draft pick, the club announced today.

The trade, pursuant on League approval and Dilfer passing a physical (which should be done by Tuesday), would include the fourth round draft choice in the 2005 NFL Draft that the Browns acquired from the Denver Broncos earlier this week in a deal for DT Gerard Warren.

Dilfer is an 11-year NFL veteran with 96 career starts and has spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle. Last season with the Seahawks, Dilfer appeared in five games, including two starts, and led the Seattle to a pair of victories over Miami (24-17 on Nov. 21) and Arizona (24-21 on Dec. 26).

Dilfer began his career with Tampa Bay in 1994 and spent six seasons (1994-99) with the Buccaneers before joining the Baltimore Ravens in 2000. He started eight games for the Ravens that season, passed for 1,502 yards with 12 touchdowns, and guided the club to a Super Bowl win over the N.Y. Giants. He spent the last four seasons (2001-04) with Seattle
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Falcons re-sign Rossum, add Peterson

NFL.com wire reports

ATLANTA (March 5, 2005) -- The Atlanta Falcons re-signed Pro Bowl return specialist Allen Rossum and added kicker Todd Peterson.

Rossum, who set an NFL playoff record last season with 153 yards on three punt returns against St. Louis, agreed to a four-year contract. The 5-foot-8, 178 pound seven-year veteran had 21 tackles, two interceptions and a sack while playing defensive back.

Peterson agreed to a one-year deal. He kicked for San Francisco last season.
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Working in Giants offense offers some appeal to Burress
March 6, 2005
SportsLine.com wire reports

Free-agent wide receiver Plaxico Burress will visit the New York Giants on Monday to discuss becoming the deep threat that Eli Manning so desperately needs.

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Burress' agent, Michael Harrison, told the Associated Press on Sunday that his client will leave from Miami on Monday morning and spend the afternoon in New York.

"The Giants are very much appealing to Plaxico," Harrison said. "They have some of the key things we're looking for."

Harrison said Burress, who has been talking with several teams including the Minnesota Vikings, wants to go to a team with a good tight end, good running back and good quarterback.

With Jeremy Shockey at tight end, Tiki Barber at running back and an emerging Manning throwing the ball, the Giants qualify.

Burress, who spent the list five seasons with Pittsburgh, would bring his considerable size and big-play ability to a Giants offense that sorely needs both.

Starting receivers Amani Toomer and Ike Hilliard had sub-par seasons, failing to catch a touchdown pass. Toomer is coming off a hamstring injury that bothered him for most of the season, and Hilliard was released Thursday after never fulfilling the promise he had when the Giants drafted him seventh overall out of Florida in 1997.

"They need a No. 1 receiver," Harrison said. "Plus, it's New York City and Plaxico is a very marketable guy."

Burress is the biggest name receiver left on the free-agent market. At 6-foot-5 and 226 pounds, the five-year veteran has the size and speed to get down the field and catch the fade pattern in the end zone, which no doubt is attractive to Manning heading into his first full season as a starter.

His best season came in 2002, when he had 78 catches for 1,325 yards and seven TDs. But an injury last season and quarterback inconsistencies contributed to lower numbers in 2003 and 2004.

Giants owner Wellington Mara was hugely disappointed by last season's 6-10 record, saying he was glad the season was over and the only solution appeared to be to "get better players."

With that, the Giants have been one of the most active teams in free agency, signing linebacker Antonio Pierce from Washington for $26 million and giving Jets tackle Kareem McKenzie $37.75 million to protect Manning.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two-time MVP agrees to one-year contract with Cardinals
March 6, 2005
Associated Press

TEMPE, Ariz. --Kurt Warner agreed Sunday to a one-year, $4 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, the two-time MVP's third team in three seasons.

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The 33-year-old quarterback, who lost his starting job with the Giants to rookie Eli Manning last season, is expected to sign the contract and appear at a news conference in Arizona on Tuesday.

Warner, a former Arena Football League player, was a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the St. Louis Rams. He led the Rams to the Super Bowl in 1999 and 2001, beating Tennessee and winning MVP in the 2000 game.

But after losing the starting job to Marc Bulger in St. Louis, he signed a one-year deal with the Giants before last season.

Warner visited the Cardinals on Thursday, then made a trip to Chicago for a meeting with Bears officials.

"From the beginning of this process, I was looking for the best situation for myself and my family and the Cardinals clearly represent that," Warner said in a statement released by the Cardinals. "We are very impressed with the direction the organization is headed in and couldn't be more excited to be a part of it. Even though this is a one-year deal, I really don't want to go anywhere else and would like nothing more than to end my career by helping the Cardinals win a championship."

That's a heady goal for a franchise that has had one winning season, and one playoff appearance, since moving to the desert from St. Louis in 1988.


Kurt Warner is pumped about getting into the game for Arizona. (Getty Images)
During his stop in Arizona, Warner emphasized that he wanted a long-term contract, preferably for four years, but he settled for a one-year deal.

"Kurt wanted an opportunity to come in and prove that he was certainly deserving of a higher valued contract later down the road," said Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president for football operations. "But the important thing for his agent, Mark Bartlestein, and I was to get a contract now. This was the place he wanted to be. We wanted him."

Warner completed 174-of-277 passes for 2,054 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions last season with the Giants, going 5-2 as a starter. But he was criticized for often holding the ball too long.

Warner's last game as a starter came in Arizona when he was sacked six times in the Cardinals' 17-14 victory over the Giants.

Warner has made it clear that he expects to be a starter, and Arizona coach Dennis Green made it clear that the opportunity for him is there. The Cardinals starter most of last season, Josh McCown, will be back next season.

"Bringing Kurt Warner on board this fast-moving train is very, very exciting," Green said in a statement. "He's proven he's one of the best competitors in the National Football League, regardless of position, and is one of the bravest quarterbacks ever to play the position. ...

"Kurt is one important element in building this football team that will help us win a championship."

Warner is the second player to agree to terms with the Cardinals in the past two days. On Friday, offensive tackle Oliver Ross signed a five-year, $17.5 million contract -- $6.3 million of it in bonus and first-year salary.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2005 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

can we make another stick where we post summed up representations of whats going on i cant read all of this
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bears agree to terms with tackle Fred Miller
By Larry Mayer
March 7, 2005




Getty Images
Right tackle Fred Miller (right) celebrates with Chris Brown after the running back scored a touchdown last season.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. - The Bears on Monday upgraded their offensive line by agreeing to terms on a five-year contract with veteran free agent right tackle Fred Miller.
The 6-7, 320-pounder spent the past five seasons with the Tennessee Titans after playing the first four years of his NFL career with the St. Louis Rams from 1996-99.

Miller is the second player the Bears have added to bolster an offense that ranked last in the NFL in scoring, total yards, passing yards, first downs and third down efficiency last season. He joins marquee free agent receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who agreed to a six-year contract Feb. 26.

Miller's arrival means that veteran John Tait, who signed a lucrative free agent contract with the Bears a year ago, will move from right tackle to left tackle, a position he played with the Kansas City Chiefs from 1999-2001.

Marc Colombo and Qasim Mitchell are candidates to be the third tackle, though Mitchell played guard in training camp as a rookie with the Cleveland Browns in 2002 and could challenge Terrence Metcalf at the right guard position.

Miller, 32, has started 102 straight games, a streak that dates back to 1998. After joining the Rams as a fifth-round pick from Baylor, he became a full-time starter at left guard in 1998 before moving permanently to right tackle in 1999.

Miller helped the Rams defeat the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV and then signed with Tennessee as an unrestricted free agent less than three weeks later on February 16, 2000.

With the Titans, Miller helped open holes for 1,000-yard rushers Eddie George and Chris Brown; and protected Steve McNair, who passed for over 3,200 yards in three straight seasons.

Miller was released by the Titans Feb. 21 because he was slated to count $9.32 million against the salary cap in 2005. He becomes the only player on the Bears roster to win a Super Bowl ring. Prior to meeting with the Bears, Miller visited with the New Orleans Saints. But New Orleans on Saturday signed Philadelphia Eagles free agent Jermane Mayberry, primarily a right guard with Philadelphia who is expected to move to right tackle with the Saints
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rudi signs tender
3/7/2005 - 11:40 a.m.
BY GEOFF HOBSON

Johnson: "I'm glad to still be a Bengal" (Bengals photo)
Running back Rudi Johnson joined up for the 2005 Bengals season Monday when he signed the one-year franchise tender of $6.3 million.

Whether heíll be here longer than that may be decided in the next nine days because the two sides have until March 16 to agree to a long-term term deal before a four-month blackout.

ďIím ready to play and do what I do best. Iím glad to still be a Bengal. I like my teammates and this city and our fans,Ē Johnson said in a news release. ďThe fans have always been great to me. Their support helps me be a better player, and I think our team can give them a lot to cheer about this year.Ē

Johnson, who had threatened not to play under a one-year deal, accepted the tender offer of $6.3 million due him under terms of the NFLís Collective Bargaining Agreement when the team named him its franchise player in free agency. The $6.3 is the average of the top five paid running backs in the NFL.

Asked last week why the change of heart, Johnson said, ďItís the only thing on the table. Itís the only thing to sign. It is what it is. I'm just going to play. It's what I do best.Ē

Now, there won't be a holdout.

ďIím going to have a great year,Ē he said last week.

ďIím happy for Rudi and our fans that he continues to be a productive and exciting member of the Bengals,Ē said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in Monday's same release. ďBy signing the tender, Rudi has shown his commitment to being a pro. We will continue to have discussions with Rudiís representatives to come to terms on a longer contract.Ē

Johnson rushed for 1,454 yards last season to break the Bengals record of 1,435 set by Corey Dillon in 2000 while also breaking Dillonís carries record with 361.

Johnson tied the team record for 100-yard rushing games in a season within five, and he led the Bengals with 12 touchdowns.

If the Bengals canít come to a long-term agreement with Johnson by March 16, they can resume discussions beginning July 15
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