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Dawkins upset with union, not Seahawks

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 31, 2000

CHENEY, Wash. -- Released in June, then re-signed in July by the Seattle Seahawks, wide receiver Sean Dawkins is mad at Gene Upshaw, not Mike Holmgren.

Holmgren, the Seahawks general manager and coach, cut Dawkins and re-signed the eight-year veteran receiver. Upshaw is the longtime executive director of the NFL Players Association that negotiated the collective-bargaining agreement that allowed the Seahawks to treat Dawkins like a yo-yo in the off-season.

"It was action packed, it was an experience," Dawkins said at the Seahawks training camp. "I'm definitely happy to be here."

And he's definitely unhappy with Upshaw.

"The thing is you can't let the system get to you," he said. "You just have accept it for what it is. It's a business and they're going to make business moves and do what they feel is right for their team. You can't take it personally. I've learned a lot along the way."

Dawkins, 29, was supposed to make $1.9-million this season in the second year of a $2.9-million, two-year contract that he signed as an unrestricted free agent with the Seahawks in April 1999.

In a salary-cap decision, the Seahawks released Dawkins on June 8 after he turned down Seattle's offer to give him $1.5-million this season.

Dawkins tried to get a better offer. After talking to Denver, Tennessee, Green Bay, the New York Jets and Oakland, he agreed to sign a new contract with the Seahawks on July 23 for $10.1-million for five seasons. He will earn $1.1-million this season, including a $500,000 signing bonus.

Dawkins blames that on Upshaw and says many veterans in the league are upset with the direction of the union.

"We don't think he makes smart decisions at times," he said of Upshaw. "I think things could be changed for the better."

TAGLIABUE MEETS MILLER: Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be as curious as the rest of the country's fans when comedian Dennis Miller takes part in the first ABC Monday Night Football broadcast of the season tonight.

Tagliabue said he met Miller for the first time Saturday at a Hall of Fame function.

"And I must say he was like a fan," Tagliabue said. "He was in awe, as most of us were, of the Hall of Famers we had there. He had just met Gale Sayers before I bumped into him, and I think before that he'd been talking to Willie Lanier and Lenny Dawson about Super Bowl IV, so he was -- if anything -- a little bit flustered because he was in awe of the people he was meeting."

PORCHER'S DEAL IN PROGRESS: For the first time since Feb. 11, the Lions seem to be making at least a trace of progress in re-signing two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Porcher.

Lions vice president Tom Lewand said he has received a one-year contract proposal from Porcher's agent, Ricky Lefft.

While that is only the first step in working out a long-term agreement, it is an indication Porcher and Lefft are finally convinced -- probably on advice from the union -- that Porcher must sign a one-year contract before negotiations can proceed on a multiyear extension.

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