Rashaan Salaam and the Chicago Bears have a deal. The Heisman Tr
CHICAGO (AP) _ Rashaan Salaam and the Chicago Bears have a deal. The Heisman Trophy winner has ended his holdout after accepting a four-year, $3.8 million contract.
``Rashaan feels terrific, so that’s all I care about,″ Salaam’s agent Marvin Demoff said late Thursday, just hours after the deal was announced. ``I think, in the end, the contract is very fair for Rashaan. He wanted to play, and he was extremely patient.″
Salaam, the 21st player taken in April’s draft, was scheduled to arrive in Chicago today, but won’t play in the Bears’ exhibition opener against the Carolina Panthers at Soldier Field.
``We’re just very glad it’s over. We’re happy to have him. He’ll be with us on the sidelines (tonight), but we don’t know if he will dress or not,″ Bears vice president of operations Ted Phillips said.
``We’ll try to get him in there and at least show him where his locker is going to be,″ Bears coach Dave Wannstedt said.
Phillips said a seven-hour meeting two days ago with Demoff helped speed the process.
``I think that face-to-face meeting helped give both sides a chance to gauge how much was posturing and how much was sincere efforts to get a deal done. I think that closed the gap,″ Phillips said.
Salaam and Demoff were interested in bonus clauses, but the Bears have a policy against incentives in contracts.
``There is only one clause based on production,″ Phillips said. ``We didn’t want to have incentives in the deal, but we did restructure.″
Demoff said: ``If Rashaan performs at a level like Emmitt Smith or Barry Sanders or the same way he did at Colorado, he should be treated differently as the 21st pick without us renegotiating or putting a gun to their heads.″
``Ted was gracious and was willing to give the rest of the rookie pool money to Rashaan,″ Demoff said. ``At that point, we knew he did all he could and it was time for Rashaan to play.″
Salaam left Colorado after his junior season, when he was voted college football’s top player. He rushed for 2,055 yards with 27 touchdowns, but was the fifth running back selected in the first round.
Salaam will return with the Bears to their Platteville, Wis., training camp on Sunday and practice for the first time that afternoon.
The 20-year-old Salaam led the nation in rushing (186.8 yards a game), all-purpose yards (213.6) and scoring (13.1 points per game) last season. He became just the fourth player in Division I-A history to gain over 2,000 yards in one season, joining Mike Rozier, Marcus Allen and Barry Sanders.
Salaam, 6-foot-1, 226 pounds, played eight-man football in high school.
He is the fourth Heisman Trophy winner to play for the Bears, joining Johnny Lujack, John Huarte and Doug Flutie.
``He’s a big-time player who was very productive against outstanding competition. As soon as we drafted him, we became a better football team,″ Wannstedt said last April after the Bears selected Salaam.