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© St. Petersburg Times, published March 29, 2001


Rams send DE Carter to Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Defensive end Kevin Carter, an All-Pro two years ago but a disappointment last season, was traded by the Rams to the Titans on Wednesday.

The Titans, who dealt a first-round draft pick for Carter, also announced that they reached terms on a six-year contract with him. The NFL was reviewing the trade and the proposed deal, which would include a salary cap-friendly signing bonus spread over a couple of years.

Until NFL approval is given, figures will not be available. But the first year would cost the Titans what they planned to pay the 29th draft pick overall this season.

"Nothing takes the place of a first-rounder, but it would've been difficult to draft anyone of Kevin's caliber," Titans general manager Floyd Reese said.

Reese said the deal may wind up as a sign-and-trade package in which the Titans then sign the NFL's 1999 defensive player of the year to their own deal. But he hopes the deal will be completed by Friday.

Still, the Titans couldn't be happier despite trading their top draft choice for the fifth time in the franchise's 42 years.

"It took a special situation for us to do it," Reese said. "We're very fond of our draft choices, and I think we've had a fair amount of success in the past with them."

Seven of their past eight No. 1 picks remain on the roster -- led by quarterback Steve McNair, who the then-Oilers picked in 1995 over Carter, who became the Rams' first pick.

The trade gives the Rams two first-round picks, adding to their original No. 20 selection in April's draft. They also can dump their franchise player, whose play slumped last season during a contract squabble.

St. Louis coach Mike Martz thinks the change of scenery will work well for Carter, 27, who was an All-Pro in 1999 when he led the NFL with 17 sacks but had 101/2 last season.

"I think he'll have his best year at Tennessee," Martz said. "Things had gone stale with him for us. He was obsessed with his contract. It was a real distraction for our team."

Carter and Jevon Kearse give the Titans two first-round picks from the University of Florida at defensive end.

The Rams originally wanted several draft picks and possibly a pair of No. 1 selections.

The Titans had lost defensive end Kenny Holmes to the Giants and cornerback Denard Walker to the Broncos this month. Now coach Jeff Fisher isn't as worried.

"I could probably play corner for us this year now that we've got Kevin there," Fisher said.

BEARS: The City Council approved a $587-million plan to renovate Soldier Field. The plan calls for rebuilding within the historic colonnades, leveling the Chicago Park District headquarters and creating 17 acres of park land by replacing parking lots with underground parking. Construction should begin after this season and should be completed for the 2003 season.

BRONCOS: Quarterback Brian Griese was put on 12 months probation after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge in Littleton, Colo.

DOLPHINS: Miami was so sure it had agreed to a deal to acquire quarterback Matt Hasselbeck from the Packers last month, it negotiated a new deal with his agent. But Green Bay reneged on the deal because after the Dolphins agreed to send their No. 1 pick for Hasselbeck, they asked to swap second-rounders. Seattle ended up getting Hasselbeck in a swap of first-round picks by including its pick in the third round. "We had a deal, and then they had to add something," Packers general manager Ron Wolf said. "If they had not added something, then we would have done the deal with Miami."

PANTHERS: Coach George Seifert said the team is seriously considering selecting a running back in next month's draft, possibly with its first pick, No. 11 overall. The top backs are Texas Christian's LaDanian Tomlinson, Mississippi's Deuce McAllister and Wisconsin's Michael Bennett.

BROWNS: Cleveland, drafting No. 3 overall, is interested in Florida's Gerard Warren but is concerned the 6-foot-4, 310-pound defensive tackle could be taken No. 2 overall by the Cardinals. "He's a powerful guy. He plays with some energy," Arizona coach Dave McGinniss said. "Of course, at this time of year everybody starts to put the magnifying glass on these guys so you can find flaws in all of them, but he's what everybody is looking for."

RAIDERS: The club spent months planning a new Los Angeles-area stadium in 1995 with the understanding the NFL would hold Super Bowls in it and provide a $20-million construction loan, a team executive testified Wednesday. But at a May 1995 meeting, the NFL passed a resolution that provided no loan and a second Super Bowl only if the Raiders allowed a second team there, chief executive Amy Trask testified in the team's $1-billion lawsuit against the NFL.

SAINTS: General manager Randy Mueller was named the league's executive of the year by the Sporting News.

EX-COWBOY SENTENCED: A federal judge in Mobile, Ala., recalled cheering for Sherman Williams when the former running back starred at Alabama, then sentenced him to the maximum 15 years and eight months in prison for drug trafficking and counterfeiting. Williams played with the Cowboys from 1995-99.

CARRUTH FOLLOW-UP: A co-defendant in the murder trial of former player Rae Carruth was sentenced to 90 days in jail and five years' probation after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors in Charlotte, N.C. Stanley Drew Abraham, 20, had been charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder, accused of firing into Adams' vehicle and attempting to kill her unborn baby. He pleaded guilty to two lesser accessory charges, and prosecutors dropped the remaining ones. Carruth, 27, is serving a minimum prison sentence of 18 years and 11 months for his conviction on conspiring to murder Adams.

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