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NFL ROUNDUP Davis finds new home in Carolina; Smith may be next



Published: Mon, March 17, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, believes Arizona is committed to winning.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Running back Stephen Davis, cut in a salary move by Washington, found a new home in Carolina, getting a five-year deal.

Also on the move Thursday were linebackers Mike Peterson (Indianapolis to Jacksonville) and Alshermond Singleton (Tampa Bay to Dallas); wide receiver Brandon Stokley (Baltimore to Indianapolis); and quarterback Todd Bouman (Minnesota to New Orleans in a trade).

Although he was the Redskins' No. 3 career rusher with 5,790 yards, and the only player in franchise history to run for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons, Davis' straight-ahead running style wasn't a good fit in coach Steve Spurrier's wide-open offense.

Davis' agent, David Canter, said the deal is worth $15.5 million, with a $2.5 million signing bonus.

"This is coming home for him," Canter said of Davis, who is from Columbia, S.C. "He also feels part of a movement and he thinks he can be a catalyst. He wants to be the franchise back who carries them to the Super Bowl."

Best fit for Emmitt?

The Super Bowl is a place with which Emmitt Smith is familiar, although not recently. Smith's first visit as a free agent was to the Arizona Cardinals, who never have been in the big game.

The NFL's career rushing leader ended his meeting by saying he believes the long-downtrodden Cardinals are committed to winning.

"Right now I can say one thing about the Cardinals is I felt at home," said Smith, released by Dallas this year. "For some reason, coming out here to Arizona, I've always felt like being at home."

Off the Florida

Peterson, plagued by injuries the past two seasons, got a six-year, $20.4 million contract, which includes $5 million in guaranteed bonuses.

"This was a good move for us at this time," vice president of player personnel James Harris said. "We got one of the better linebackers in the league."

New Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio is a former NFL linebacker and a linebackers coach.

Singleton spent the first six years of his career with the Buccaneers. He was fifth in tackles for them last season with a career-high 89.

"Al is an athletic linebacker with very good speed," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "He also brings unique intangibles to the table with a first-hand understanding of our defensive scheme and how it can be executed at a championship level."

Stokley signed a two-year, $2.9 million contract with the Colts. He spent the past few summers working with Peyton Manning at the quarterback's passing academy in Louisiana.

"I'm thrilled," Stokley said. "Any receiver wants to play for one of the best quarterbacks in the league."

New Orleans, which previously lost quarterback Jake Delhomme to Carolina in free agency, sent Minnesota a sixth-round pick for Bouman. He is entering his sixth NFL season and has started three games and played in six.

Jets to decide

The New York Jets ensured they would get kick returner Chad Morton back by matching the $8 million, five-year offer sheet by Washington. New York offered Morton, who was second in the AFC in kickoff return average (26.0), an opportunity for more plays from scrimmage.

The Jets also are deciding whether to match an offer by the Redskins to their leading receiver, Laveranues Coles, that includes a $13 million signing bonus. They have until next Wednesday to decide.

In other moves, Cincinnati signed tight end Reggie Kelly, who caught 14 passes for Atlanta last season; Miami signed cornerback Terrell Buckley; Detroit re-signed 39-year-old guard Ray Brown to a one-year contract; Baltimore re-signed right tackle Ethan Brooks to a two-year deal and also extended offers to former Ravens Orlando Brown and Jermaine Lewis.




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