Steelers Beat Skins In Scrimmage
The Pittsburgh Steelers, who played the final game of the 1995 NFL season, picked up the first ``victory″ of 1996 on Saturday, beating the Washington Redksins 10-3 in a scrimmage at Latrobe, Pa.
Running back Jon Vaughn scored the only touchdown for the AFC champions on a 1-yard run before a crowd of more than 4,000 at St. Vincent College.
``The one thing I was impressed with was the hitting,″ said Steelers coach Bill Cowher. ``I thought it was very spirited on both sides of the ball. I thought there were a lot of people running to the football.″
Redskins coach Norv Turner also called the hitting the most positive part of the trip.
``I thought there were some guys really going after it,″ Turner said. ``Hey, go hit the heck out of someone. We can solve the mental errors. It’s standing around passive that we can’t do anything about.″
Redskins rookie kicker Sean Fleming hit a 30-yard field goal while veteran Scott Blanton missed his only attempt.
Steelers second-year quarterback Kordell Stewart completed five of seven passes for 112 yards. He threw three completions for 56 yards to rookie wide receiver Jahine Arnold on the Steelers’ opening drive.
An estimated 7,000 fans gathered Saturday to watch Oakland scrimmage.
The defense stopped the offense four times in six series in the red zone, with Jeff Hostetler and Billy Joe Hobert each throwing for a touchdown.
``As the season went on last year, one area of poor production was in our red zone offense,″ said coach Mike White, whose team did not scrimmage at all a year ago. The Raiders finished 8-8 with six straight losses.
Kevin Butler says the team seems to have developed a chip on its shoulder after failing to make the playoffs with a 9-7 record last season.
``I think we’re finally hating to lose,″ said Butler, the last player left from the 1985 Super Bowl champions. ``Unfortunately the only way to learn how to hate it is to lose, which we’ve done the last few years.″
Wide receiver Alexander Wright, who missed half of last season due to back surgery, missed practice Saturday complaining of a similar problem.
``We’re going to have him checked by the doctor that did the surgery,″ coach Rich Brooks said. ``We don’t think it’s anything serious at this point, but we need to use good precaution on it and get it checked out.″
Wright underwent surgery to repair a bulging disk in his lower back Oct. 11. He returned Nov. 26 and caught 19 passes for 300 yards in four games.
Andre Rison is going through a new round of negotiations at the Jacksonville training camp. It’s not his contract, but his jersey number.
Rison, a four-time Pro Bowl receiver, has worn No. 80 in a seven-year career with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns. That number belongs to Willie Jackson, a second-year receiver.
``Eventually, I’m going to get it, even if Willie and I have got to tussle in the room after curfew,″ Rison said with a smile. ``I offered him some money. He wants the money up front. We’re still negotiating.″
Rison said getting his old jersey number is important because he has a tattoo with No. 80 on his left arm.
Missing from much of the Atlanta Falcons’ first workout was talk of their missing quarterback, Jeff George.
George was the only Falcons player not in camp on Saturday morning. He remains deadlocked in contract talks with the club. George reportedly wants a five-year contract for $6 million a year and a $10 million signing bonus; the club wants a one- or two-year pact worth less than $4 million a season.
``Jeff’s in the back of everyone’s mind, but as far as the receivers go, we have confidence we’re going to get the ball no matter who throws it,″ said Bert Emanuel.
Wide receiver Floyd Turner practiced with Baltimore for the first time on Saturday. His status had been in limbo since July 16, when Indianapolis challenged the contract because of a technicality. The NFL ruled on Friday, however, that Turner’s contract with Baltimore was indeed valid.
``I feel a little bit rusty,″ said Turner after the morning workout. ``It really felt good to get out there again.″
Defensive end Jeff Cross will miss the preseason and perhaps the first part of the regular season because of a back injury.
Cross, who has led the Dolphins in sacks five of his eight seasons, was placed on the physically unable to perform active list Saturday.
``I’m not used to being injured, so obviously I don’t like this,″ Cross said. ``I’m just going to have to take it day-by-day and do my rehab work. At this point, I’ll do whatever I have to get back on the field.″
Free agent Harry Galbreath, an offensive guard, signed a deal with Denver on Saturday. The team didn’t disclose contract terms.
Galbreath is starting his ninth season in the NFL. He started all 16 games in 1995 with the Green Bay Packers, as well as the team’s three playoff games. He spent the first five years of his career with the Miami Dolphins, who drafted him in the eighth round _ 212th overall _ of the 1988 draft. He was acquired by the Packers as an unrestricted free agent in 1993.
Doug Pelfrey, who had been on the verge of ending talks on a multi-year contract, now says there’s been progress in negotiations and hopes to sign a deal shortly.
The Bengals kicker set a team scoring record last season with 121 points and bettered his own team record by kicking 29 field goals. He has converted 81 of 100 field-goal attempts in his three seasons with Cincinnati.
Seattle has signed free agent tight end Ronnie Williams. Williams played the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He started twice and played in 41 games. Williams attended Oklahoma State, where he was a quarterback for three seasons before moving to receiver his senior year.
Roman Oben, the big tackle who was the New York Giants’ third-round draft pick, signed a three-year contract and practiced with the team on Saturday.
The signing leaves defensive end Cedric Jones, the Giants’ first-round pick, and wide receiver Amani Toomer, the second-round choice, as the only unsigned players.
Backup linebacker Ben Talley tore all the major ligaments in his knee during Friday’s workout and he will undergo reconstructive surgery next week.
When coach Bill Parcells went looking for a ``big play″ man on defense, he found a free agent with that very description in his nickname.
The Patriots lured free safety Willie ``Big Play″ Clay from Detroit with a four-year, $6 million contract that included a $1.5 million signing bonus.
Clay made eight interceptions for the Detroit Lions last season, ranking him second in the NFL to Minnesota Vikings free safety Orlando Thomas’ nine.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was on hand Saturday to watch New York’s first full-squad workout
Free-agent offensive tackles Jumbo Elliott and David Williams, the centerpieces of their offseason offensive line makeover, sat out the afternoon practice session with hamstring injuries.
In addition, middle linebacker Marvin Jones was excused with what coach Rich Kotite described as a ``three-day virus.′