The clock is still ticking on the deal to send Charger running back Gary Anderson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but time is growing short.
Tampa Bay set a deadline of 9 a.m. PDT today for reaching a contract agreement with Anderson, or the deal to exchange him for two draft picks will be off.
Anderson's agent, Peter Johnson of Cleveland, and the Buccaneers ended telephone negotiations Friday without coming to terms. And while no one was expressing deep concern over the failure to agree, Tampa Bay's chief negotiator did say he was disappointed.
"I would have thought we would have had it done by now," said Phil Krueger, assistant to the team president.
Krueger said Johnson was set to arrive in Tampa today for face-to-face talks. Krueger said Johnson has been in Phoenix for the past few days on other business.
"He's coming to Tampa Bay, that's all I can say," Krueger said. "I don't know if that's a positive or a negative."
Krueger said he is intent on completing the deal by the deadline.
"That's a firm deadline," Krueger said. "I wouldn't want it to go past noon (EDT)."
But the Buccaneers nonetheless seem to be making plans in case there are further hitches.
Charger General Manager Bobby Beathard said he already has received an inquiry from Tampa Bay Coach Ray Perkins about extending the deadline and said that he had no objection to granting an extension if needed.
"I told Ray Perkins we're flexible, if he needs more time to just call me," Beathard said.
Neither Anderson nor Johnson could be reached for comment.
The Chargers agreed Thursday to trade Anderson to Tampa Bay in exchange for a third-round choice in the NFL draft that begins Sunday and a conditional second-round pick in 1991.
The second-round choice would be contingent upon Anderson gaining at least 1,000 combined yards passing and rushing in 1990. If he failed to achieve that, the 1991 pick would be in the third round.
But for the deal to be completed, league rules say Anderson must be signed to a contract. He has been without one since the end of 1988 and sat out last season when a new deal could not be reached.