The Indianapolis Colts signed Jeff George to a six-year, $15-million contract that will make the Illinois quarterback the highest-paid rookie in NFL history and put him among the four highest-paid players in the NFL.
Among current players, George’s package would rank below only those of Buffalo’s Jim Kelly and Philadelphia’s Randall Cunningham. It is equal to the contract of Cleveland’s Bernie Kosar.
George’s contract surpasses the six-year, $11-million deal that quarterback Troy Aikman signed with the Dallas Cowboys last year.
“It’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing, and here I am,” George said when he arrived at Colt headquarters Friday. “I am very excited about it.”
George, an Indianapolis native, played one year at Purdue but transferred to Miami after Coach Leon Burtnett was fired. He never played for the Hurricanes and left for Illinois the next year. George, who passed up his senior year of eligibility to enter the draft, completed 262 of 423 passes for 2,932 yards and 22 touchdowns at Illinois last season.
Agent Leigh Steinberg, who also negotiated Aikman’s contract, and Colt General Manager Jim Irsay bargained until 5:30 a.m. Friday at an all-night restaurant, Steinberg said.
The agreement was the only obstacle to a trade by which the Colts sent Pro Bowl tackle Chris Hinton, wide receiver Andre Rison and two draft choices to Atlanta for the first pick in Sunday’s draft. The Colts, who also received the Falcons’ fourth-round pick this year, had imposed a Friday deadline on signing George, or the deal would have been off.