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Around the AFC

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 24, 2002

BILLS: The team signed draft picks Kevin Thomas and Rodney Wright, and free agent Delrico Fletcher. Buffalo also waived rookie linebacker John Duckett.

CHARGERS: San Diego signed free-agent Eric Parker from Tennessee, a 23-year-old wide receiver who was released last weekend by expansion Houston. The team also released defensive tackle Anthony Fletcher.

CHIEFS: Contract negotiations between the team and first-round pick Ryan Sims will continue today, but the Kansas City Star reported it is uncertain if Kansas City will have him for the start of training camp. The first practice at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is Friday. "We're talking on a regular basis, and we've made some strides in some areas, and we'll continue to talk," said Sims' agent, Hadley Engelhard. "It just takes one phone call, but it's hard to say exactly when a deal is going to happen." Coach Dick Vermeil was more optimistic about an on-time arrival for Sims. "I think we're close," he said. "(Team president Carl Peterson) indicated that to me. I think he'll be here."

DOLPHINS: Fullback Obafemi Ayanbadejo, who started five games last season for the Ravens, agreed to terms. Ayanbadejo, 27, will report Thursday for the start of training camp.

JETS: The team did not break the bank to sign troubled defensive tackle Josh Evans, but it will have to pay big bucks next offseason if Evans stays clean and they want to keep him on the team. New York's Daily News reported that Evans, who has been suspended twice for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, signed a four-year, $9.3-million contract. The team protected itself by giving him a modest signing bonus ($200,000) and the minimum base salary ($525,000) for 2002, but must pay a $3-million option bonus next offseason to pick up the final three years of the contract, the paper reported.

STEELERS: Coach Bill Cowher says quarterback Kordell Stewart will be prepared for renewed expectations, after he reclaimed his job following a prolonged unproductive period. "He understands that everything is going to be scrutinized, every game, every throw," Cowher said. "He has become very tough-minded as a result of what he's gone through. He just didn't come off his year in the Pro Bowl and say 'Okay, I'm fine now.' He came here and never missed a workout. He became a leader. He's the leader of this football team."

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