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NFL Camps Roundup

July 25, 1998

While the top three picks in the NFL draft remain holdouts, many other first-rounders are signing and coming to training camp.

The Cincinnati Bengals signed first-rounder Takeo Spikes to a five-year, $7.53 million contract on Saturday. The deal includes a $3.6 million signing bonus and $1.5 million in incentives, according to his agent, Jim Sims.

Eighteen of the 30 first-round picks have now signed with their teams. The most notable holdouts are top pick Peyton Manning (Indianapolis), No. 2 Ryan Leaf (San Diego) and No. 3 Andre Wadsworth (Arizona).

Spikes, a speedy linebacker from Auburn, was the No. 13 overall selection in April’s draft. The Bengals hope he can help turn around their porous defense, which ranked 28th in the NFL last season.

The other big news Saturday was Miami’s decision to waive talented but troubled running back Lawrence Phillips.

``I just feel like he’s not going to fit into our plans,″ Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson said. ``This gives him an opportunity to find another team, get himself another opportunity.″

Phillips wasn’t available for comment.

Police are investigating allegations that Phillips hit a woman at a lounge in Plantation, Fla., on June 27. A decision on whether charges will be filed could be made next week.

Phillips was a first-round draft pick by St. Louis in 1996, but he lasted less than two years with the Rams. During his 19 months with the team, Phillips was arrested three times and spent 23 days in jail for violating probation after a drunken-driving arrest in California.



Doug Pederson is having problems adjusting to his new role as the Packers’ No. 2 quarterback behind Brett Favre.

Pederson, who was handed the backup job on April 5 when Steve Bono was traded to the St. Louis Rams, has been throwing poorly during the first week of training camp.

``It’s been rough,″ Pederson said. ``It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I think I’ve put some undue stress or whatever on myself to perform well, and it’s showed up out here.″


Free agent defensive tackle William Gaines signed with the Falcons.

Gaines, a 6-foot-5, 318-pounder, fills the spot vacated when Nathan Davis quit the team Friday.

Gaines played three seasons with the Washington Redskins and one with the Miami Dolphins.


Don’t mess with defensive tackle D’Marco Farr.

Farr worked on his karate skills in the offseason, and is now two steps away from a black belt.

``That means I can jump in somebody’s stuff right now,″ he said.

Farr thinks karate will make him a better pass-rusher.

``It’s all hand speed, flexibility and balance,″ he said.


The Carolina Panthers held their first workouts without defensive end Jason Peter, the team’s first-round draft.

Peter and the team have been unable to agree on a contract, so the 14th overall selection continued his holdout. Through the first two days of camp, Peter missed a total of eight hours of meetings and more than three hours of practice time.

``There’s no question a guy gets behind,″ coach Dom Capers said.


Tony Jones, a natural left tackle, has opened training camp on the right side of Denver’s offensive line.

Jones has requested that he play out of position so he can avoid a repeat of last season, when his performance was disrupted by having to switch from one side of the line to the other.

That happened because All-Pro left tackle Gary Zimmerman retired, then came back two games into the regular season. Because of Zimmerman’s anticipated absence, Jones began the season at left tackle. He stayed there for six games before switching to right tackle after Zimmerman had problems mastering the right side.

Zimmerman has announced his intention to retire again, but Jones isn’t convinced.

``You never know with Gary,″ Jones said. ``I would love to go back to left tackle, my natural position. But if Gary comes back, I don’t want to have to go through that again.″


In just a few days of full-scale practices, linebacker Jeremiah Trotter is making the Philadelphia Eagles take notice of him.

``I’m a physical player who makes plays,″ said Trotter, the team’s third-round draft pick from Stephen F. Austin. ``I want to be an intimidator out there. I want to be the guy nobody wants to play against.″

The 6-foot-1, 260-pound Trotter is challenging incumbent James Willis for the starting job in the middle of the Eagles defense by bringing his intense, physical and unrelenting approach to the practice field.

``I’m here to be a starter and to be the best player I can be,″ Trotter said. ``I’m willing to do whatever it takes to play here. I love the game and I love the practices.″

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