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If it's July, it must be time to scrimmage.

New England and Washington will get to it today, as will Dallas and Houston.It'll be the first time these teams have hit anybody other than themselves.

The Patriots and Redskins match up at Carlisle, Pa., and the Texas rivals square off at San Antonio.

"We've told the players that it's a test," Patriots coach Rod Rust said, "but we've also reminded them that it's July. The first thing we want them to aspire to is to let it loose."

The controlled format won't ever be confused with real football. New England and Washington will run seven-on-seven passing drills, then five full-squad offensive possessions per team consisting of 10 plays per possession.

Dallas coach Jimmy Johnson hopes to gain some game-style knowledge of his team, 1-15 last season.

"The main thing we want to do is evaluate players, what they're going to do in game-like situations," Johnson said. "We're going to have some kicking situations full speed and we're going to have about 150 plays for the total offense and defense."

New England brings its entire roster to Carlisle, while Washington will play only rookies, free agents and select veterans. The remainder of the Redskin veterans are not scheduled to report until Sunday, while New England's have been at Bryant College since July 17.


Miami reached agreement with offensive tackle Richmond Webb, the ninth player drafted overall.

Webb's eight-day holdout reversed a trend of lengthy contract talks with first rounders. Last year, running back Sammie Smith held out 53 days and missed Miami's opener, and fellow first-round pick Louis Oliver was out of camp 21 days. In 1987, defensive lineman John Bosa took 41 days to report.

Terms of Webb's deal were not disclosed.


Buffalo signed its first-round draft choice, defensive back James Williams of Fresno State, but three starters, running back Thurman Thomas, Pro Bowl linebacker Shane Conlan and offensive lineman Will Wolford, continued to hold out.

Coach Marv Levy was upset with the veterans not reporting: Thomas, Conlan, Wolford and tight ends Keith McKeller and Butch Rolle, cornerback Kirby Jackson and safety John Hagy.

"It's unsettling," he said. "There's a varying degree of how much you can afford to miss (but) no one can afford to miss any. And anybody who thinks, `I know the system' or that is kidding themselves."

Other signees, along with Williams, were fullback Jamie Mueller and tight end Pete Metzellaars.


New York center Bart Oates ended a four-day excused absence so he could take the New Jersey bar exam. He showed up late for Friday morning's workout, a fact not missed by Giants coach Bill Parcells.

"If he's that late for his clients they'll be incarcerated for a long while," Parcells said from New York's training site at Fairleigh Dickinson University. "They'll be residing in Rahway (state prison) on the second floor."

Oates is competing for the starting job with second-year man Brian Williams, who missed three days of practice when he stayed in Pittsburgh for his father's funeral.


After coming to Cleveland's camp, right tackle Cody Risien again announced his retirement. Risien, 33, had originally retired in March, but decided to return in June.

"Looking at some of the younger guys and how hungry they are and reflecting on how hungry I had been early in my career, I just realized it's not my focus anymore," said Risien, a 10-year veteran from Texas A&M. "I just don't have a burning desire to play football anymore."


Phoenix has 13 players, 11 veterans and two rookies, out of camp and that's way too many for new coach Joe Bugel.

"We're constantly calling people, trying to get them in camp. Our club has made tremendous offers to each and every one of them. I know that for a fact," Bugel said, pounding a table with his fist during a news conference after practice. "What's the sense of holding out? What does that prove?

"I'm getting fed up with it. People have to get off their butts and play football. If you want to play, get up here and play. Stop all this nonsense."

Some of the key holdouts are safety Tim McDonald, punter Rich Camarillo, special teamer Ron Wolfley, and top draft choice Anthony Thompson, a running back from Indiana.