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NFL briefs

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 22, 2001


Weinke finally signs with Panthers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Panthers signed the last of their eight draft picks Saturday, agreeing to terms with Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and linebacker Dan Morgan.

Morgan, the first-round pick from Miami, and Weinke, the former Florida State quarterback selected in the fourth round, are expected to sign five-year deals when rookies report to camp today.

"It's a positive start to training camp to have everyone aboard and expected to be in on time," coach George Seifert said.

Morgan, the 11th overall pick, will get an $8.75-million deal, including a $4.1-million signing bonus. The first player to win the Butkus, Nagurski and Bednarik awards in the same season, he's expected to start at outside linebacker this season.

"I'm real excited about getting things started on the right foot," Morgan said. "It's a good situation and very beneficial when you are able to get to camp on time."

Weinke, who is 29 and a year older than starting quarterback Jeff Lewis, has a unique deal because he has a chance to be the starter. The contract will feature numerous incentives for playing time and performance.

He also will receive a $500,000 signing bonus and his escalating base salaries for each of the five seasons will be $209,000, $298,000, $389,000, $418,000 and $448,000.

BEARS: Jim Miller is expected to miss two weeks with a strained left hamstring, hurting his chances of being the starting quarterback.

Miller had an MRI exam as a precautionary measure after being hurt in the second practice of training camp Friday.

"It's no worse today than yesterday, but we're looking at probably two weeks, give or take a day or two," trainer Tim Bream said.

"We'll see how it is day to day. We probably won't know exactly the prognosis for another few days."

Miller tore his Achilles' tendon in November, had surgery and had spent long hours rehabilitating during the off-season.

He'd hoped to battle Cade McNown and Shane Matthews for the starter's job during an open competition in camp.

JAGUARS: Punter David Leaverton, a fifth-round draft pick out of Tennessee, signed a three-year, $1-million contract that includes a $108,500 signing bonus, the Florida Times-Union reported.

RAIDERS: Safety Derrick Gibson, a first-round pick and 28th overall selection out of Florida State, signed. Terms weren't disclosed.

He was on the field Saturday for the first day of practice.

The 6-2, 207-pound Gibson was a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection as a senior last season after 71 tackles, 2 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries and 4 tackles for a loss.

He started his final three seasons at the rover position, alternating between safety and cornerback.

STEELERS: First-round draft pick Casey Hampton signed a five-year, $6.79-million contract. He was the last draft-pick holdout for the team. The deal includes a signing bonus of between $3.1-million and $3.2-million.

A 6-1, 315-pound nose tackle from the University of Texas, Hampton was chosen 19th. He will be competing with second-year pro Kendrick Clancy for a starting position.

"I'm happy," Hampton told Houston television station KRIV. "The more time you miss, the further back you get from everybody else. I think it's good we got the deal done."

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