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Colts’ Top Draft Picks Unsigned

July 23, 1999

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) _ The Indianapolis Colts opened preseason training camp Thursday with their top two draft picks unsigned.

There was no news on negotiations for running back Edgerrin James, the team’s top pick, and linebacker Mike Peterson, selected in the second round with the 36th pick overall.

``You’d like everybody to be here, and I’m not trying to say that it doesn’t matter. But, I’m not upset because I didn’t expect them here,″ coach Jim Mora said. ``They’ll get here eventually, until then we’ll coach the guys that we’ve got. ... I can’t worry about who is not here, and I don’t.″

Quarterback Peyton Manning was understanding of the absence of James, who earlier had promised that he would be signed in time for the start of training camp.

``We want Edgerrin to be here as soon as possible. He is a young player, just like I was last year. The more training camp time you can have, the better you are going to be for the rest of the season,″ said Manning, who went on to set rookie passing records despite the five days of camp he missed last year. ``Having been there last year, I know what he’s going through. I know he wants to be here.

``Everybody knows that because of how hard he worked in the months of May and June. Hopefully, his agent will be able to get it done as soon as possible.″

The Colts did make some progress on the signing front, however, inking four other draft picks: defensive back Paul Miranda, defensive end Brad Scioli, punter Hunter Smith and linebacker Corey Terry.

In addition, the team announced that exclusive rights free agent Mike Vanderjagt, who made 27-of-31 field goals and all 23 of his extra point kicks in his NFL debut last year, had signed a new contract.

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