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NFL briefs

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2001


Ahanotu: No Lions deal yet

TAMPA -- Former Bucs defensive end Chidi Ahanotu said reports that he reached an agreement with the Lions are not true.

According to CBS Sportsline.com, Ahanotu agreed to terms with the Lions on Tuesday, four days after being released by the Bucs.

"I haven't even talked to them," Ahanotu said Wednesday. "I was surprised, very surprised. They wanted me to come and take a visit but that's it. We haven't talked money or anything like that.

"Everyone was calling me and saying that they heard I had signed with the Lions. I don't know where they got that information. I'm wide open and still looking."

Ahanotu, a sixth-round draft pick of the Bucs, played eight seasons with Tampa Bay and has 317 tackles and 31 1/2 sacks.

Ahanotu said his agent, Eugene Parker, had discussions Friday and Saturday with the Bengals but could not reach a deal.

Damien Robinson signs with Jets

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- A nearly two-month pursuit of safety Damien Robinson ended when the Jets signed the free agent.

Robinson, 27, who played the past four seasons for Tampa Bay, where he worked with Jets coach Herman Edwards, is expected to start at free safety.

The Jets have been looking for a free safety for a decade. During that time, they have had Erik McMillan, Lonnie Young, Ronnie Lott, Eric Zomalt, Jerome Henderson, Corwin Brown, Steve Atwater, Marcus Coleman, Kevin Williams, Scott Frost and Chris Hayes as starters.

Robinson, 6-2, 214 pounds, started every game for the Bucs the past two seasons and had eight interceptions. He also plays special teams.

Robinson signed a five-year deal worth nearly $10-million.

Philadelphia selected Robinson out of Iowa in the fourth round of the 1997 draft. He was cut and placed on the practice squad that season.

Tampa Bay signed him off the practice squad that year, but he did not appear in a game for the Bucs. Robinson was a backup in 1998 before breaking his arm in midseason and missing the rest of the year.

PRYCE IS RIGHT: Tackle Trevor Pryce became one of the league's top-paid defensive players when he re-signed with the Broncos for $60-million for seven years.

The deal, which came nearly a year after Pryce held out of training camp in an attempt to renegotiate his rookie contract, includes a signing bonus worth nearly $11-million.

"I wanted to play here the rest of my career," the 6-5, 295-pound Pryce said. "I love the city. I love the people. This is an ideal situation for me and my family."

Last summer, Pryce stayed out of camp for 16 days, rejecting a seven-year, $31.5-million offer.

Pryce, Denver's first-round draft pick in 1997 from Clemson responded by leading the Broncos with 12 sacks and two forced fumbles and returning a fumble recovery for his first NFL touchdown. In 1999, he had 13 sacks.

ENIS RETIRES: Six weeks ago, Curtis Enis had a chance to start his career over. Wednesday, it came to an end.

The 24-year-old Enis, a former first-round draft pick who had hoped to resurrect his career with the Browns, said he is retiring because of a degenerative condition in his left knee.

Enis was signed by the Browns on March 13 after three disappointing seasons with the Bears. He said he had been considering retirement for some time and finalized his decision after the Browns recent minicamp.

"It's tough," Enis said. "But it's just a part of the game. You come in with so much promise and high hopes of doing well and the injury just wouldn't let it happen."

Enis, the fifth overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft and the 1993 AP Mr. Football in Ohio, was a holdout as a rookie and made one start before tearing a ligament in his left knee that November.

"It's been a tough thing," Enis said. "But I'm at a point in my life when I have to start thinking about other things."

Enis said he plans to return to Penn State to complete his degree in Commercial Tourism and Recreation and Park Management. He said he has one full semester remaining. Enis ranks third on the career rushing list at Penn State with 3,256 yards and is second with 36 touchdowns.

MINOR VICTORY FOR RAIDERS: Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Richard C. Hubbell refused to dismiss a $1-billion lawsuit by the team claiming the league forced the team to leave Los Angeles by sabotaging a 1995 deal to build a new stadium.

Lawyers for the league asked Hubbell for a directed verdict, contending there was insufficient evidence presented by the team during the trial.

He rejected the motion, clearing the way for final arguments to begin today and the case to go to the jury as soon as Friday afternoon.

Raiders attorney Joe Alioto said the ruling was a victory for the team.

"We are gratified at the decision and will wait to see what the jury thinks of the facts," Alioto said.

BEARS: Cornerback Walt Harris agreed to a one-year contract and tight end Kaseem Sinceno re-signed. Terms weren't given.

LIONS: Rutgers guard Rich Mazza, an undrafted free agent, agreed to a two-year contract. Mazza's contract includes a signing bonus and league-minimum base salaries of $209,000 and $298,000. -- Staff writer Roger Mills contributed to this report.

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