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SHARPE CATCHES TOP PAY AS RECEIVER

Sterling Sharpe's new contract ensures he will be the NFL's highest-paid receiver from the 1995 season through the year 2000, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported.

Sharpe's half-day walkout from the Packers on Sept. 3 - the day before the regular season opened - ended that evening when the Packers agreed to pay him $1 more than the league's highest-paid receiver in each of those years, the newspaper reported, citing an unidentified source.The newspaper said Sharpe didn't receive a signing bonus, but did get a $1.8 million advance on this year's salary when he signed the revised contract Sept. 7. Sharpe's escalator clause was raised, and he no longer has to reach a performance incentive to get it, according to the source.

Sharpe, who caught an NFL-record 112 passes last season, signed his current 10-year, $15.5 million contract in 1991 and added an initial escalator in August 1993, though the current deal now supersedes it.

This year, the four highest-paid receivers are San Francisco's Jerry Rice (about $3 million average), Tim Brown ($2.75 million), Anthony Miller ($2.6 million) and Michael Haynes ($2.5 million average). Hence, the $2.7 million Sharpe will make this year.