Lelie pays hefty price to get out of Denver

Published August 25, 2006

DENVER - Ashley Lelie's departure from the Broncos was costly.

Broncos coach Mike Shanahan confirmed Thursday that, to be free from the final year of his contract, the recalcitrant receiver agreed to pay the team a hefty sum, believed to be $982,000.

Not counting players' days off, Lelie skipped 23 days of training camp, making him liable for $14,000 in daily fines totaling $322,000.

The Broncos also wanted Lelie to repay a prorated portion of his $3.3-million signing bonus, which would amount to $660,000 if divided by five (because his sixth year was voided when he reached certain incentives).

In speaking Thursday for the first time about the three-way deal that sent Lelie to Atlanta, T.J. Duckett to Washington and a conditional package of picks from the Redskins to Denver, Shanahan said at least as important as the draft day compensation was the money Lelie owed the Broncos.

"We would not have released him unless he agreed to it and signed a contract to do it," Shanahan said.

Lelie, who led the league in yards per catch the past two seasons, skipped the Broncos' offseason workout program, forgoing a $100,000 bonus to work out on his own in Arizona. He said he wanted out of Denver because the Broncos were misusing him and weren't giving him the chance to be the featured receiver with Rod Smith and Javon Walker on the roster.

Rice's retirement official

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Jerry Rice signed a one-day contract to retire with the 49ers, officially ending the receiver's matchless career back where it began.

Rice, who played the first 16 of his 20 seasons with San Francisco, shed no tears during a short signing ceremony at the 49ers' training complex. The receiver wore his ring from the team's 1989 Super Bowl championship on a chain around his neck as he hugged his wife, Jackie, and shook hands with San Francisco owner John York.

"I would like to put the uniform on and run on that football field, but I think it's time to move on," Rice said, gesturing toward the practice fields behind him. "I feel welcome here. I feel like this is my home, and this is something I'll never forget."

Rice, who turns 44 in October, holds league records with 197 touchdown catches, 1,549 receptions and 22,895 receiving yards.

BENGALS: Carson Palmer is ready to play. With his rebuilt knee holding up in practice, the quarterback said he will play in the next preseason game, taking a hit for the first time since his injury in the playoffs seven months ago. Palmer is expected to start Monday night against the Packers.

BROWNS: The team, which has had problems at center all training camp, acquired center Lennie Friedman from the Bears for a 2007 conditional draft choice. Friedman, 29, has played 65 games in seven seasons with Denver, Washington and Chicago.

CHARGERS: Rookie left tackle Marcus McNeill had minor surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand.

COWBOYS: Terrell Owens missed practice again, virtually assuring he will miss his third straight preseason game this weekend and might not play until the regular-season opener.

Also, Drew Henson was released a day after coach Bill Parcells said the quarterback wouldn't be on the roster this season.

PANTHERS: Outside linebacker Na'il Diggs suffered a right knee injury in the first quarter of Thursday's late game against Miami and was not expected to return.

RAIDERS: Doctors told center Jake Grove that he won't need surgery on his injured left shoulder. He is expected to miss less than a month.

TITANS: David Givens, signed away from the Patriots to boost Tennessee's receiving corps, won't play Saturday night against the Falcons because of a strained right hamstring. Both he and coach Jeff Fisher think he might play in the Titans' preseason finale in Green Bay on Sept. 1.