Brian Mitchell, who joined the Washington Redskins as a fifth-round draft choice in 1990 making a base salary of $80,000, became the club's latest millionaire yesterday.
Mitchell got a three-year, $4.2 million deal with a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $1.25 million cap number that makes him one of 15 Redskins making more than $1 million, although three of them -- Andre Collins, Ethan Horton and Leonard Marshall -- no longer appear to be in the club's plans.
Mitchell nearly doubled his 1994 salary of $650,000 and became the highest-paid running back in club history. His calling card is versatility, as he led the league with 2,477 combined yards last season -- 311 rushing, 236 receiving, 1,478 in kickoff returns and 452 in punt returns.
General manager Charley Casserly said Mitchell's signing was one of the team's priorities, and he even mentioned the playoffs, despite the Redskins' 7-25 mark the past two years.
"We're one step closer to being a good football team and being in the playoffs again," Casserly said.
Mitchell said, "I never wanted to leave. I consider this home."
Although he said he still would like to be a starter, Mitchell said, "I've settled down into a role. I know what's expected of me."
His agent, Stephan Baker, also negotiated linebacker Ken Harvey's deal (four years, $11 million) last year, the highest on the team.
Mitchell also plans to set up a program called "Returning to Your
Roots" in which he'll fund a scholarship for scholar-athletes at his high school in Plaquemine, La., and help support youth football in the Washington area. He said youth football helped keep him off the streets.
The Redskins also signed fullback Cedric Smith to a one-year deal with a $30,000 signing bonus and a $200,000 base. They re-signed two of their special-teams players, defensive lineman Lamar Mills and running back Tyrone Rush.
Meanwhile, Washington brought in San Francisco 49ers fullback Marc Logan, who played behind William Floyd, for a visit.
Dallas Cowboys special-teams player Matt Vanderbeek is expected to arrive today and sign a two-year, $600,000 deal.