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Published: Sat, July 23, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Titans: Tennessee cares much more about protection than punctuality in negotiating a contract with their top draft pick, Adam "Pacman" Jones. General manager Floyd Reese prides himself on getting his top draft picks under contract and on to the field for the first practice of training camp. His lone exception since the franchise relocated to Tennessee was defensive tackle in Albert Haynesworth in 2002, a five-day holdout. But with Jones' arrest on July 13 on a felony vandalism charge and two misdemeanor assault charges stemming from a nightclub fight, the Titans want to make sure the first defensive player taken in April's NFL Draft is able to earn what they pay him. The Titans open training camp on Friday. Reese still hopes to sign Jones by then, but he also expects Jones' agent to use the threat of a holdout to counter the Titans' demands.

Saints: Linebacker Derrick Rodgers was released Saturday. Rodgers missed the last eight games last season because of a back injury. The eight-year veteran had surgery in February to repair a bulging disc in his back and was not healthy enough to compete in off-season practice sessions. The 33-year-old Rodgers came to the Saints in a 2003 trade with the Miami Dolphins for a seventh-round draft pick. He had two years remaining on his contract, with a scheduled base salary of $1.1 million this season and $1.2 million in 2006. Rodgers started all 23 games he played with the Saints, recording a career-high 97 tackles in 2003 and 71 tackles last season.

Panthers: Offensive lineman Evan Mathis, one of the team's two third-round draft picks, agreed to a three-year contract. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Mathis was the 15th player selected in the third round of this year's NFL draft and is expected to compete for a starting job at right guard with Tutan Reyes in training camp. Mathis agreed to a three-year contract, according to his agent Kirk Wood.

Bears: Chicago agreed to a one-year contract with Marc Edwards, hoping the fullback can plug a hole created by injuries. The veteran spent the past two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, starting five of the 13 games he appeared in. The deal was reached Friday and is contingent on Edwards passing a physical. Edwards has 405 yards rushing on 124 attempts and 157 receptions for 1,235 yards in eight seasons. The Bears' top two fullbacks, Bryan Johnson and Jason McKie, are sidelined for the start of training camp with injuries.

Dolphins: Miami signed draft picks Channing Crowder and Anthony Alabi to four-year contracts and said they will take part in the first training camp workout on Monday. Crowder, a linebacker and the Dolphins' third-round draft choice, started at Florida in 2003-04. Alabi, a tackle and the team's fifth-round pick, was a three-year starter at Texas Christian. The Dolphins also signed free agent tight end Lorenzo Diamond, who started four games in 2004 for the Arizona Cardinals. Miami waived tight end Joe Munson, who was signed as an undrafted free agent on April 29.

Associated Press




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