PRO FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE NFL : Dickerson Still With Falcons After All

Associated Press

Eric Dickerson, the NFL's No. 2 all-time rusher, hasn't been waived after all by the Atlanta Falcons.

On Tuesday night, Dickerson concluded that he was being released after conversations with assistant coaches June Jones and Ollie Wilson.

On Wednesday, Falcon President Taylor Smith and Coach Jerry Glanville took turns labeling Dickerson's conclusion a "misunderstanding."

Both said he is welcome to remain with the Falcons, provided he accepts a role that will be further reduced beginning with next Thursday's game against the Rams.

"We told him his playing time wasn't going to be what he wanted," Glanville said. "That we were going to play the young guy (Erric Pegram), like we've been doing, and that the choice was his . . . as to what he wanted to do. Needless to say, we were all shocked (to read that he thought he had been waived). I think there was probably a misunderstanding."

Obviously convinced that he was being released in a payroll-slashing move, Dickerson, 33, did not report for Wednesday's practice and began making plans to leave town. The Falcons never put him on waivers.

But whatever the message delivered Tuesday night, Dickerson contended on Wednesday night that he did not misinterpret its intent.

"They can call it a misunderstanding or whatever . . . and I guess when I come out there (today), I'll go with the old miscommunication line," he said. "But I know what was said to me. I can almost repeat the exact words. Still, what's the difference? What they're telling me is that . . . my role here is nothing."

Dickerson has played in four games for the Falcons, gaining 91 yards in 26 carries and 58 yards on six pass receptions.

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San Diego Charger quarterback Stan Humphries, pulled from two consecutive games because of ineffectiveness, has been benched in favor of John Friesz. Humphries and Friesz were notified of the decision Wednesday by Coach Bobby Ross. Friesz will start Sunday's game at Pittsburgh while Humphries rests his bruised right shoulder, which has bothered him all season.

The Chargers (2-2) have scored only four touchdowns, with kicker John Carney providing the rest of the scoring with 13 field goals.

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Joe Montana said his sore leg is getting better and he still is hoping to be ready for the Kansas City Chiefs' game Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Montana pulled his left hamstring muscle in Sunday's game against the Raiders. . . . Injured Washington Redskin quarterback Mark Rypien practiced in a knee brace, and coaches said they are hopeful he will be able to start against the New York Giants on Sunday. . . . Jerry Rice signed a three-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers, solidifying his status as the NFL's highest-paid wide receiver. Rice, a nine-year pro who already is the NFL's all-time leader with 106 touchdown receptions, will get at least $8.425 million and possibly as much as $9.625 million during the extension, which begins in 1995.

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