NFL Roundup : Talks Stall, So Broncos Make Karlis Free Agent

From Associated Press

The Denver Broncos rescinded their contract offer to kicker Rich Karlis, making the team's second all-time leading scorer an unrestricted free agent.

A free agent out of Cincinnati in 1982, the bare-footed soccer-style kicker made the squad that year and has made 71% of his 193 field-goal attempts. Karlis' 655 points is second only to Jim Turner's 742 in team scoring.

But after making only 23 of 36 field-goal tries during Denver's 8-8 season last year, Karlis fell into disfavor with the Broncos.

"What that means is Karlis can sign with any other team in the league without compensation to the Broncos," team spokesman Jim Saccomano said. "He is a complete free agent without ties to Denver."

Neither Karlis nor agent Ron Grinker were immediately available for comment.

The Chicago Bears cut 17 rookies, including 11th-round draft choice Byron Sanders of Northwestern, the younger brother of Heisman Trophy-winner Barry Sanders.

Others waived by the Bears include fifth-round linebacker Greg Gilbert of Alabama; linebacker LaSalle Harper, a ninth-round selection out of Arkansas; defensive tackle Joe Nelms, a round 11 choice from California; defensive back George Streeter, an 11th-round pick from Notre Dame, and Fred Weygand, a 12th-round wide receiver from Auburn.

First-round draft pick Broderick Thomas ended a 43-day holdout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, signing a five-year contract for undisclosed financial terms.

Thomas was the sixth player taken in the draft and talks with Buccaneer management didn't really progress until last week when linebacker Derrick Thomas, the fourth player selected, reached a $4.3 million, five-year agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Punter Rick Donnelly, who led the NFL in punting two years ago with a 44.03-yard average, will undergo back surgery and be lost for the season.

Donnelly, 27, had injured his back during a shuttle test run in June and had missed all of training camp. He will undergo surgery Sept. 15 to repair a lumbar disc.

Offensive tackle Luis Sharpe ended his 33-day holdout, signing a two-year contract with the Phoenix Cardinals.

Sharpe, an eight-year pro and two-time Pro Bowl selection, was the only remaining unsigned Cardinal. No financial terms were disclosed, but the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Sharpe earned $415,000 last season and was seeking a multiyear deal with an annual salary of at least $700,000.

The New York Jets came to terms with All-Pro wide receiver Al Toon.

Toon, who made $400,000 last season, signed three one-year contracts for an estimated $3.6 million.

Last season, Toon set a club record with a league-leading 93 receptions for 1,067 yards (a 13.3 average) and five touchdowns. In four years, he has averaged 73 receptions for 970 yards and five touchdowns, and already ranks sixth in receptions (292) and seventh in yardage (3,881) in franchise history.

Wide receiver Mike Quick signed three one-year contracts that, according to Philadelphia Eagles' president Harry Gamble, will put him among the highest-paid wide receivers in the league. Terms were not disclosed.

Quick was leading the NFC with 25.6 yards per catch when he suffered a broken leg in the fifth game of last season.

Seattle Seahawk running back Curt Warner went through his most extensive practice since arthroscopic knee surgery three weeks ago and might play against the San Francisco 49ers Friday night in the Kingdome.

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