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NFL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001


Falcons trade up for Vick

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers traded the top pick in the NFL draft to the Falcons on Friday after apparently failing to reach a deal with Michael Vick.

The Falcons got the opening pick in exchange for the fifth overall pick in the first round; their third-round pick, the 67th overall; their second-round pick in 2002 and receiver Tim Dwight.

"I still have to talk to my agent to find out what really went down, why the Chargers came to the decision. I didn't know Atlanta was making the trade," Vick said. "I didn't know anything that was going on other than the San Diego deal, so it's very shocking."

Chargers president Dean Spanos has said that if they were unable to agree to a deal with Vick by today, the team would trade the pick or use it on someone else.

"We got this trade opportunity while we were working on the deal and it was too good to pass up," Chargers coach Mike Riley said. "We know we'll get an impact player with the fifth pick in the draft as well as help from the third-round pick."

The Falcons need an eventual replacement for the aging and injury-prone quarterback Chris Chandler.

"I'd be lying if I didn't say I was disappointed," Vick told reporters at the ESPNZone in New York. "I really like Coach Riley. I really like coach Norv Turner. I would have loved being down there. But things do happen. I don't think they had any doubts about me, but there are some business decisions that have to be made."

The Chargers didn't get as much in the deal as they had hoped, but it at least gives them the chance to take players who can contribute immediately to one of the NFL's worst offenses. The Chargers were ranked last in rushing and 28th overall.

Chargers general manager John Butler is known to like TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who might be available at No. 5. Tomlinson has some qualities similar to Thurman Thomas, whom Butler drafted in 1988 when he was with Buffalo.

Before they traded the pick, the Chargers had been in contact with Tomlinson's agent, team spokesman Bill Johnston confirmed Friday. They no longer can negotiate with Tomlinson, however, because only the team holding the first choice can do that.

The Chargers desperately need a running back, but they also need offensive linemen.

The Falcons will pick Vick, who left Virginia Tech with two years of eligibility left.

Chiefs get Trent ... Green

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Dick Vermeil and the Chiefs finally landed Trent Green, acquiring the quarterback from the Rams for a first-round pick, No. 12 overall.

Vermeil, who coached Green in St. Louis, had been trying to get the 29-year-old since Elvis Grbac left as a free agent.

"Trent Green, when healthy, will make more contributions to ... this organization than any first-round pick that's out there," Vermeil said.

The Rams gave Kansas City their first fifth-round choice, and agreed not to match the Chiefs' offer sheet to wide receiver-kick returner Tony Horne.

Horne signed an offer sheet with the Chiefs this week. The Rams, who initially said they would match, decided to use Horne as a deal-closer.

"This deal probably could have been done a long time ago if we had been absolutely sure of Trent Green's health," Vermeil said.

Green is rehabbing a knee injury and may not be ready until shortly before training camp in July. He has two years left on his contract.

Kansas City added quarterback depth by signing Bubby Brister, 38.

BRONCOS: Denver added depth and experience to its secondary, signing free-agent cornerback Darryll Lewis to a one-year contract. Lewis, a 10-year veteran, made 30 tackles and had one interception for San Diego last season.

DOLPHINS: Miami re-signed receiver Jeff Ogden to a one-year contract. Ogden appeared in all 16 regular-season games last season in a reserve role.

PACKERS: Nearly 7,000 season tickets have been returned from fans who refused to pay a user fee of up to $1,400 a ticket to help finance Lambeau Field renovation. It's the largest number of ticket-holders to abandon their seats since the mid-1960s.

REDSKINS: The team cut Larry Centers, the NFL's career leader in receptions by a running back. The Redskins signed free agent Donovan Greer, a nickel back with the Bills the past three seasons. Cutting Centers saves the team about $1.6-million next season.

INGRAM COUNTERFEIT CASE: Rather than stand trial, former Dolphins wide receiver Mark Ingram pleaded guilty in Miami to one count of possessing $3,290 in fake $10s, $20s, $50s and $100s that he was carrying when he was taken into custody. The charge carries a maximum 15-year sentence, but defense attorney Abe Bailey said Ingram will face less than a year under federal guidelines at sentencing June 29.

XFL today

WHO: San Francisco Demons vs. Los Angeles Xtreme.

WHAT: The Million Dollar Game, the league's first title.

WHEN/WHERE: 8 p.m.; Los Angeles Coliseum.

TV: Ch. 8.

INTERNET SITE: XFL.com.

SCOUTING REPORT: The Xtreme's Tommy Maddox, MVP of the league's inaugural season, is a former UCLA star and a first-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1992 who spent time with the Rams, Falcons and Giants. He threw for an XFL-high 2,186 yards and 18 touchdowns, The winning players will receive $22,000 to $26,000 apiece, depending on how they vote to split the $1-million bonus. Los Angeles' semifinal victory over Chicago drew 13,081, the Xtreme's smallest crowd of the season and 22,802 fewer than its home opener. San Francisco quarterback Mike Pawlawski was the Pac-10's offensive player of the year at California in 1991. The Demons beat the Xtreme 15-13 at San Francisco on Feb. 4, when Pawlawski completed 31 of 47 for 289 yards and two touchdowns and Mike Panasuk kicked a 33-yard field goal as time ran out. The Xtreme won the rematch in the L.A. Coliseum 24-0 on April 7, with Maddox throwing for 164 yards and one score while Pawlawski passed for 136 yards, with two interceptions.

NFL Europe today

WHAT: The six-team league opens play with every NFL club allocating at least six players -- a record of 229. Allotment used to be voluntary, but this season it's mandatory for all 31 teams to contribute to the 10-year-old league.

TODAY'S LINEUP: Frankfurt Galaxy (Patriots QB Michael Bishop, runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1998) at Scottish Claymores (Cowboys QB Clint Stoerner), Barcelona Dragons (former Notre Dame quarterback Jarious Jackson, Broncos) at Berlin Thunder (Jonathan Quinn, who started two games for the Jaguars in 1998) and Amsterdam Admirals (Spergon Wynn, who started a game last season for the Browns) at Duesseldorf's Rhein Fire (either Giovanni Carmazzi of 49ers or Phil Stambaugh of Saints).

TV: Amsterdam at Rhein, 1 p.m., FSN.

INTERNET SITE: NFLEurope.com.

WORLD BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP: June 30, Amsterdam.

AIN'T THAT A KICK?: Rhein kicker Manfred Burgsmuller will never make the NFL, but he's about to make NFL Europe history. The 51-year-old kicker needs nine points to break the league record of points scored (235). Teams carry 46 players -- 38 North American players and eight so-called "national players." They represent 13 countries this season: Croatia, England, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

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