Two days after Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said he was prepared to let first-round pick Corey Simon sit out the entire season, the defensive tackle agreed to a five-year deal.
Simon, the No. 6 pick overall in April's draft, was to join the team before its flight to Cleveland on Saturday. Philadelphia opens its preseason against the Browns on Sunday.
On Wednesday, Lurie criticized the negotiating stance of Simon's agents, Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker.
"I'm disappointed," Lurie said. "It's pretty much gone the way we've suspected it would. It's so clear in the NFL that it's so easy to figure out what a player's worth at a given position in the draft. It's a no-brainer."
There appeared to be significant progress the next day and the agreement was reached Friday.
In accordance with previous No. 6 picks, Simon's contract is likely to have included a signing bonus of about $6 million and about $2.2 million per year.
Simon, a 6-foot-1, 293-pound defensive tackle from Florida State, is expected to make an immediate impact on the Eagles' defensive line.
"We're looking forward to getting Corey on the field for Tuesday's practice, and even though he has some work to do, we're very confident that he'll be an integral part of our defense for many years to come," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.
Jamal Lewis, Baltimore's first-round draft pick, will be sidelined 4-6 weeks after dislocating his left elbow during Friday night's scrimmage with Washington.
The running back from Tennessee was injured on a 1-yard run on the Ravens' third offensive play, his first live tackle play as a pro against another team. Lewis was carrying the ball in his right arm and was trying to use his left to keep his momentum going when a defender rolled over it.
"I thought it was broke," Lewis said. "I'd never felt that kind of pain before. Luckily, it was just dislocated."
Lewis walked to the sidelines, where trainers popped the elbow back into place.
Quarterback Jake Plummer showed no ill effects in the team's workouts on Friday after stiffness in his right arm prompted Arizona to limit his throwing the previous day.
"I think it was something stemming from a little overuse," Plummer said.
He said he believes it is linked to the thumb injury that bothered him all of last season. The thumb is fine now, he said, but the tightness may be an aftereffect.
"It would be similar to ripping your knee up and rehabbing it, then having a tight hamstring or a tight quad resulting from that," Plummer said. "It feels fine. I threw the ball well today."
Running back Errict Rhett returned to the field Friday after missing two days with swollen knees. The right one he blamed on the grind of two-a-day practices.
The left one?
"He said his bed was too hard," Browns coach Chris Palmer said with a straight face on Friday. "That's our story and we're sticking to it."
NASHVILLE , Tenn. (AP) -- Smaller and slower than other players in high school, Eddie George knew he had to work harder.
He started running hills and lifting more weights, anything to get stronger than his teammates at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia.
"I had no other choice," said George, whose bedroom walls were covered with posters of the NFL's best running backs. "It was something I had to do to get to the point where I wanted to be."
That point, of course, was playing for a major college program and in the NFL one day.
The hard work paid off.
George, who sprouted 4 inches to 6-foot-2 between his sophomore and junior years in high school, went on to Ohio State and won the 1995 Heisman Trophy. He was drafted by the Houston Oilers, now the Tennessee Titans, in 1996, and last season turned in a career-high 1,762 combined yards and a career-best 13 touchdowns as the franchise reached its first Super Bowl.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection recently became one of the highest-paid running backs in the NFL, with a $41.2 million, six-year contract extension.
And he's still working hard. The man who admired Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Barry Sanders wants to become one of the best ever to play the game.
"I really don't want to try to follow in the footsteps of anyone but create my own footsteps," George said.
He's well on his way. George has rushed for 5,365 yards in four seasons. He joined Sanders, Eric Dickerson and Earl Campbell by rushing for at least 1,200 yards in each of their first four seasons. If he does it one more time, he will join Dickerson as the only running backs to top that mark in their first five seasons.
George was at his best when he finally got to the playoffs last January. He rushed for 448 yards in four games, and his two touchdowns in the Super Bowl gave the Titans the opportunity to drive for what could have been the tying touchdown in the final seconds of a 23-16 loss.
The most amazing accomplishment might be George's 64 consecutive starts. In four seasons, he has never missed a game, and Titans strength coach Steve Watterson said George's dedication to exercise is the reason.
"A lot of it is God's blessing, durability to last in the league with the pounding you take," Watterson said. "But you can do all the preventive things and have a much better shot at having a long career. And he does those things on a daily basis."
When George entered the NFL, critics said he wouldn't last long because he would take a beating with his upright running style. Look closely, and you can see him leaning forward slightly, just enough to protect his body.
Watterson's toughest job has been getting George not to work too hard.
George used to stay in shape by staying after practice running alone for up to an hour. He still runs, but now he also bikes or jumps on the springboard in the weight room for a break. He also performs yoga occasionally to remain limber and help him recover from injuries.
"Set up a program, stay out of his way and let him get it done," Watterson said.
For Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, the proof of George's commitment comes on the practice field. Even when hurting after carrying the ball 35 times the day before, he is ready to work out.
"We all know Eddie doesn't always feel 100 percent when he steps on the practice field. That doesn't matter," Fisher said.
"The mark of a great back in this league is when you can line up and play through the nicks and bruises and through the pain and push yourself through it. When he sets a standard, the rest of the team will follow," he said.
George still has room for improvement. He fumbles too much, dropping the ball 19 times in four seasons. He also can get better in passing situations when blocking for quarterback Steve McNair, and he has been working hard at catching passes despite a career-high 47 receptions last season.
"The good news for us is that he is striving to get better," running backs coach Sherman Smith said. "That's bad news for everyone else. We just keep pushing those buttons and raising the bar."
End Adv for July 29-30
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