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Lions QB Batch gets $31-million deal, may start

By Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 7, 2000

PONTIAC, Mich. -- He asked his coach for another day of practice, gave his agent four hours to strike a deal, and just like that, Charlie Batch hit the jackpot.

Batch, the Lions' third-year quarterback, reached an agreement Wednesday on a four-year contract extension worth $31-million, including a $13-million signing bonus, agent Tom Condon said. And it appears Batch will start Sunday against the Washington Redskins, though a final decision had not been made. Batch took part in about three-quarters of the plays during the full-team practice.

"I told (coach Bobby Ross) I feel pretty good," Batch said. "I told him, "At least give me ... one (more) practice.' And he allowed me to do that."

"We'll continue to give him more of the reps (today), just to see the physical wear and tear on the leg," Ross said.

Batch sat out the season opener Sunday at New Orleans, saying he didn't feel sufficiently recovered from a broken bone just below his right knee sustained in June. Batch and Condon denied the decision was made because Batch was unhappy about his contract talks.

Batch said that when he arrived for practice Wednesday morning, he gave Condon a noon deadline for a deal. "When I came out of my meeting after lunch, everything was done," he said.

CARDINALS: Holdout defensive end Simeon Rice showed up unannounced at the practice facility in Tempe, Ariz., agreed to a $4.25-million, one-year tender offer, took a physical and disappeared without consummating the deal.

"This happens too much in this business, and I'm tired of it," general manager Bob Ferguson said. "We can't deal with these guys with kid gloves all the time."

Before the physical, Rice declined to speak with reporters.

FALCONS: Quarterback Tony Graziani was waived to bolster the depth at linebacker, where the losses of Chris Draft (hamstring) and Mark Simoneau (groin) left the team with four healthy players for Sunday's game at Denver.

The Falcons signed linebacker Chris Bordano, waived by the Cowboys before the season.

Graziani was on the verge of being cut until Danny Kanell broke a finger on his throwing hand in the final preseason game. Kanell threw softly in practice but will be used only in an emergency.

Rookie Doug Johnson moves up to be the No. 2 quarterback.

RAMS: Defensive tackle D'Marco Farr had arthroscopic knee surgery to repair torn cartilage and will be out about a month. Cornerback Todd Lyght (turf toe) said he'll miss one game at most. Az-Zahir Hakim said a mild knee sprain won't keep him out of Sunday's game at Seattle.

SAINTS: Running back Ricky Williams was a surprise addition to the injury list. He woke up Monday with a swollen right foot, and it was placed in a walking cast. X-rays were negative, and he was diagnosed with a bruise. Williams was listed as questionable for Sunday's game at San Diego.

SEAHAWKS: Coach Mike Holmgren, who said this week he might turn to backup quarterback Brock Huard for the Rams game, decided after viewing tape of Sunday's shutout loss to Miami that he is sticking with Jon Kitna. For now.

CARRUTH CASE: Rae Carruth won his bid to be tried separately from two fellow defendants. The former Carolina Panther's murder trial was scheduled for Oct. 23 in Charlotte, N.C. Carruth and two other men are charged in the shooting of Carruth's girlfriend last year while she was pregnant with his child.

MONDAY NIGHT RATINGS: About 15.4-million people watched Dennis Miller's regular-season Monday Night Football broadcast debut. Ratings for the telecast of the Rams' 41-36 victory over the Denver Broncos were down 5 percent from last year's opener between Miami and Denver, which was played a week after Labor Day.

The league, meanwhile, said it will move its opening to the weekend after Labor Day starting in 2001. One reason: TV ratings were off by as much as 20 percent during Labor Day weekend.

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