Top pick Pickens reports to Falcons

Atlanta Falcons first-round draft pick Bruce Pickens arrived at the NFL club's training site yesterday, a day after agreeing to a five-year, $7.13 million contract that includes a $2.65 million signing bonus.

The former Nebraska cornerback ended a 75-day holdout when he agreed to terms of the contract Tuesday. He is to meet with club officials this morning to sign the contract.


Pickens was the third player chosen in the draft and the final 1991 first-rounder to sign.

* VIKINGS: Quarterback Wade Wilson has been benched in favor of Rich Gannon, who will attempt to revive an offense that has scored just 49 points in five games.


Brian Habib will take over for Todd Kalis at guard and John Randle will replace Al Noga at defensive end.

* BUCCANEERS: Vinny Testaverde will start this week against the Eagles, replacing Chris Chandler, who failed to provide the spark the winless team was looking for in Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Lions.

Reggie Cobb will make his first start of the season at tailback, replacing Gary Anderson.

* DOLPHINS: Cornerback J.B. Brown (Maryland) said he has been informed he will make his first start of the season on Sunday against the Patriots. Coach Don Shula will announce his starting lineup today.

* GIANTS: Cornerback Mark Collins, who walked out of a team meeting Monday, said yesterday that he did so out of frustration with his performance. Collins was beaten by the Cowboys' Michael Irvin for the winning touchdown Sunday.

Meanwhile, the New York Post reported yesterday that an anonymous player said the team was fed up with Handley and some coaches, that it would have had a 5-0 record if Bill Parcells remained as head coach and that Phil Simms needed to be re-inserted as the starting quarterback instead of Jeff Hostetler.

Coach Ray Handley said: "Suddenly we have one player and he's the authority on a bunch of disgruntled players. I have an open-door policy. If anyone is disgruntled, they can come to me, and I have yet to entertain any of those people in my office."

* PACKERS: Starting quarterback Don Majkowski, who has a bruised left shoulder, did not practice, and the club listed him as doubtful for Sunday's game with the Cowboys.


If Majkowski can't play, Blair Kiel would start.

* BEARS: Coach Mike Ditka said the media misunderstood him when it was reported he was planning to bench rookie tackle Stan Thomas, safety Markus Paul and others against the Redskins on Sunday.

"Do they bench Darryl Strawberry when he's batting .229? Come on!" Ditka said.

But Ditka said several players -- tackle Tom Mattes, guard Jerry Fontenot, safety Shaun Gayle, cornerback John Mangum and wide receiver Ron Morris -- will get more playing time.