Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 29, 2001
MACOMB, Ill. -- Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, the former Zephyrhills High player who was the third of the St. Louis Rams' three first-round picks, agreed to terms on a five-year contract Saturday.
The Rams signed defensive tackle Damione Lewis of Miami, the 12th overall pick, on Friday. Arizona State's Adam Archuleta, the 20th pick, signed Saturday night and will compete with Devin Bush for the starting strong safety job.
Pickett signed a five-year, $5.995-million contract with a signing bonus of $2.215-million.
He has a base salary of $504,000 this year and will get $100,000 a year for attending 80 percent of off-season workouts over the last four years.
"Oh, man, it feels good because this is a lifelong dream," said Pickett, who left Ohio State after his junior season. "It's just starting to hit me that this is what I'm doing."
Lewis is first on the depth chart at one tackle and Pickett is listed as the second-stringer behind Jeff Zgonina.
"He came out early, so he doesn't quite understand the kind of conditioning and the type of intensity that this league is about," coach Mike Martz said. "He's made great strides in the off-season by getting in shape."
In his first full-squad workout Saturday afternoon, Lewis worked with the first-stringers. Line coach Bill Kollar badgered him constantly and gave him extra running drills.
Lewis signed his contract at the Miami airport before flying to St. Louis. That was done because Florida has no state income tax.
In other news, fullback Larry Bowie, cut by New England on Tuesday, signed and will challenge James Hodgins for the starting job.
SMITHFIELD, R.I. -- Patriots linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer walked out of training camp because he was worried about the neck he injured last year. He is undecided about playing this year, and the team might soon be looking to sign Bryan Cox to replace him.
Coach Bill Belichick said Katzenmoyer contacted him Saturday to apologize for leaving training camp after the team breakfast. Belichick said they discussed his injury.
"I can't really speak for him, but I would characterize it as he's trying to resolve those issues himself," he said.
Katzenmoyer's mother, Dianne Katzenmoyer, said her son is fine.
"There are a couple of concerns about his neck, about the surgery he had last fall," she told the Columbus Dispatch.
Belichick said he has not decided whether to fine him.
Mrs. Katzenmoyer said there was no basis to speculation her son, a third-year pro from Ohio State, was considering retirement.
"I think they've gone a bridge too far," she said.
A phone message left for Katzenmoyer's agent, Neil Cornrich, was not returned.
Katzenmoyer had surgery Nov. 16 to repair a bulging disc in his neck. The injury caused him to miss much of last season.
He arrived at camp early this year to rehabilitate. Belichick said he gave no indication that the injury had recurred.
BEREA, Ohio -- The Browns released running back Errict Rhett, who signed before last season to be the feature back. Rhett, 30, who played for the Gators and Bucs, sprained his left foot after five games.
Coach Butch Davis said the move was made to better evaluate the younger backs.
"We wanted to be fair to Errict and we felt he would have a better opportunity to join another team at this time," Davis said.
Rhett's agent, Gene Mato, said Rhett was very disappointed. In other news, offensive tackle Tony Jones, who began his career in Cleveland in 1988, retired. Jones, who played for Cleveland from 1988-95, then played on two Super Bowl winners with Denver, told Davis and his teammates Friday night that his "mind and heart were someplace else."
HEY, I CAN PLAY: Robert Tucker showed up at the Carolina Panthers training camp in Spartanburg, S.C., wearing only gym shorts and a T-shirt. He carried a sign: "Just need a tryout."
Who would have thought his request would be granted?
Tucker, a motor technician for Goodyear and a part-time semi-pro player for the Carolina Eagles, worked out for Panthers coaches after Saturday's practice at Wofford College.
"He had a sign and he wanted a tryout, so we gave him a tryout," coach George Seifert said.
His 30-minute workout, however, wasn't enough to impress scouts and earn a contract.
Tucker spent three days watching practice and holding up his sign as players and coaches walked to the locker room.
LATE FRIDAY: Dameon Porter had two key interceptions and the first-year Chicago Rush ousted defending champion Orlando 41-26, dominating the second half at TD Waterhouse Centre. Chicago kept the crowd quiet with a methodical game, rushing for its first three touchdowns. Orlando had 11 first-half penalties. Former USF standout Clif Dell had an 8-yard touchdown catch for the Predators. In Toronto, Chad Salisbury had seven touchdown passes and the Phantoms defeated the New York Dragons 64-57. With the score tied at 57 and less than a minute left, Salisbury threw a touchdown to Damian Harrell on fourth and goal from the 4. The game was clinched when Aaron Garcia's fourth-down pass from the Toronto 11 was knocked away by Del Lee.
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