Philadelphia Eagle running back Herschel Walker was released at his request after refusing to take a pay cut. Walker, 33, became expendable after last weekend's signing of San Francisco's Ricky Watters.
Eagle Coach Ray Rhodes, San Francisco's defensive coordinator last season, said Walker would have to compete for a roster spot if he accepted the pay cut.
Walker, who was to make $1.3 million to $1.5 million in 1995, said he took a salary cut last season. "I made $1.2 million last year when I should have made $1.5 million," he said. "I took a cut to help them out with their money problems. This is not about salary cap; it's about respect. . . . I gave my life for this football team on the field. It's like I took a bath with the wrong soap and I smell. Now they do not want to be bothered with me."
Green Bay running back Darrell Thompson, a first-round draft pick out of Minnesota in 1990, has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bears. His best year with the Packers was 1993, when he rushed for 654 yards in 169 carries. . . . Free agent defensive end Gerald Williams, a starter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, agreed to a contract with the Carolina Panthers, the expansion club said. Terms were not disclosed. . . . Steeler Coach Bill Cowher privately renegotiated a two-year contract extension last year for an undisclosed raise that locks him up through 1997. Pittsburgh also added more leg to its kicking game, bypassing punter Mark Royals to sign 13-year veteran Rohn Stark from the Indianapolis Colts. Starks kicks for better distance than Royals, who is known for his accuracy. . . . The Houston Oilers released safety Bubba McDowell and officially signed quarterback Chris Chandler. . . . The Washington Redskins signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Matt Vanderbeek, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys.