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Ex-Trojan Receiver Soward Agrees to a 5-Year Contract

From Associated Press

The Jacksonville Jaguars and first-round draft pick R. Jay Soward have agreed to a five-year contract worth about $5.5 million, a source close to the negotiations said Thursday.

Soward’s agent, Leigh Steinberg, flew to Jacksonville on Thursday to secure the deal. Soward is expected to sign the contract today.

The former USC receiver was the 29th player selected in the NFL draft. He has said he does not want to be a training-camp holdout. Camp begins next Friday.

The Jaguars endured their first rookie holdout of any significance last year when cornerback Fernando Bryant stayed out of camp for 11 days.

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“That won’t happen here,” Steinberg said. “R. Jay will be on time.”

Soward’s contract will count $860,000 against the Jaguars’ salary cap in 2000.

He will compete for the Jaguars’ third receiver spot. At USC, he had 161 catches for 2,672 yards and 23 touchdowns.

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Former USC quarterback Rodney Peete, who has played for four other NFL teams, joined his brother by signing a free-agent contract with the Oakland Raiders.

Peete, 34, who has played in 87 NFL games in 11 seasons with the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, completed eight of 17 passes for 107 yards and two touchdowns in three games for the Redskins last season.

Peete played for Philadelphia from 1995-98, and Raider Coach Jon Gruden was offensive coordinator for the Eagles in the first three of those seasons.

Peete starred in baseball and football at USC before being selected by the Lions in the sixth round of the 1989 draft. His brother, Skip Peete, is the Raiders’ running backs coach.

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The Cleveland Browns signed former Miami Dolphin offensive tackle James Brown to a one-year deal to fill a gap left by the injury to Orlando Brown.

The 6-foot-6, 325-pound James Brown, an eight-year NFL veteran, was released by the Dolphins on June 15. He started 14 games with the Dolphins last season.

Orlando Brown, sidelined since he was accidentally struck in the right eye by a weighted referee’s flag in a game against the Jaguars on Dec. 19, was put on the physically-unable-to-perform list Wednesday.

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Guard Dave Szott of the Kansas City Chiefs, who has sold his Kansas City home and threatened to retire if not traded to an East Coast team, will be with the Chiefs when they open camp next week.

At least that’s the way Coach Gunther Cunningham sees it.

“I’ve said all along he’s going to be a member of our football team,” Cunningham said. “I think he’ll be here on July 18 ready to start.”

Cunningham said he is also confident right guard Will Shields will have his contract situation resolved “in the next few days.” Shields, a three-time Pro Bowler, was designated the Chiefs’ franchise player and offered a one-year contract for $4.1 million. He has held out for a multiyear deal.

Szott, a 10-year veteran and former All-Pro, wants to be closer to his New Jersey home to provide care for his son, Shane, who has cerebral palsy. He did not take part in minicamp in May and recently indicated in a television interview from New Jersey that his career in Kansas City was finished.

The Chiefs open camp in River Falls, Wis., next Friday. They are holding a special precamp session with rookies Tuesday.

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The Indianapolis Colts came to terms with second-round draft pick Marcus Washington, a linebacker from Auburn. . . . The San Francisco 49ers signed linebacker Jeff Ulbrich, a third-round draft pick from Hawaii, to a three-year contract worth $1.21 million. . . . The Minnesota Vikings signed seventh-round draft pick Giles Cole, who played tight end for Texas A&M; Kingsville.


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