Patriots, 1st-round pick agree on deal Notes


New England Patriots running back Leonard Russell, the club's last rookie holdout, agreed to a three-year contract yesterday.

"I'm glad it's over," Russell said. "I've been ready to get into camp for the longest time. I've been working out twice a day every day like the other players just to get ready, but I'll be glad to get to football."

Russell was the second of two first-round picks by the Patriots last spring and was the 14th player taken.

* BEARS: Five holdouts probably will not rejoin the team for at least another 10 days, club finance director Ted Phillips said.

Phillips, who negotiates the players' contracts, said that unless something breaks during talks in the next day or two, he wouldn't be available until Aug. 4 because of the team's trip to Germany. The Bears leave Sunday for Berlin, where the team plays the 49ers on Aug. 3.

The holdouts are offensive lineman Keith Van Horne, wide receiver Ron Morris, kicker Kevin Butler, tight end James Thornton and fullback Brad Muster.

* BENGALS: The club probably will start the season without running back Ickey Woods. The fullback, who tore his right knee during the team's first contact drill Monday, is expected to miss at least six weeks of practice, which would keep him sidelined for the Bengals' season opener Sept. 1 in Denver.

Coach Sam Wyche said that Woods probably will open the season on injured reserve.

"That's probably what will happen, but we won't have to make that decision for a while, so we'll wait and see," Wyche said.

* JETS: The team is interested in Lee Williams, the Chargers' sack specialist who says he wants out of San Diego.

Williams, a two-time Pro Bowl player, is holding out. He wants to play defensive end, from where he has recorded most of his 64 1/2 career sacks. The Chargers would like him to play defensive tackle.

Jets general manager Dick Steinberg tempered his optimism.

"It's come out out there that the guy wants to be traded," Steinberg said. "All they're doing is fishing around to see what's out there. Nothing is imminent."

* GIANTS: Running back Rodney Hampton has been found innocent on charges he harassed a female Jersey City, N.J., police officer at a nightclub in December.

The officer claimed that Hampton pinched her breasts during a party at Joey's Place after the Giants' 23-15 victory over the Vikings on Dec. 10. She was off-duty when the alleged incident occurred.

* CARDINALS: Rookie wide receiver Jon Horton, missing for more than a week, has been found staying with a friend, the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen reported.

"He is fine. He is in no danger and he is not missing at all," a police source told the newspaper, adding that the information on Horton's whereabouts has been turned over the FBI.

Horton, 26, disappeared after a team dinner near the Cardinals' training complex in Tempe on July 15, one day before the team set up training camp in Flagstaff.

Tucson police spokesman Roberto Villasenor said today he was unable to confirm the report.

The team would like to know from Horton, who led the World League of American Football in receiving yards, if he still plans to play for Phoenix.

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