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The Houston Oilers have an All-Pro center and a rookie running back ready to sign. Because of the salary cap, they will have to wait.

Neither center Bruce Matthews nor rookie Rodney Thomas can officially sign until general manager Floyd Reese entices one or more Oilers to renegotiate their contracts. Either that, or there will have to be some cuts."Somebody will have to redo, or we'll have to make adjustments," Reese said. "We're talking to three or four people simultaneously. We don't need for all of them to help us, but if one of them will help, we'll be in good shape."

The Oilers' third-round draft pick from Texas A&M, Thomas arrived at training camp Monday eager to sign his three-year, $832,500 contract.

"I'm ready to get going. I'm happy to be here," Thomas said. "I can't say how happy I'll be (when he suits up), but it will mean everything is finished with the contract and it's time to play."

Matthews is also waiting to sign a four-year contract worth $10.4 million.

"I'm sure it doesn't help, but this is football in the '90s and every team in the NFL is going through it," Reese said. "From that standpoint, we're all on an even keel."

It also doesn't get any easier.

When Reese finds a way to pay Thomas and Matthews, then he must work out deals with starting safety Blaine Bishop and right tackle David Williams.


San Francisco hopes to sign defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield soon. The club has scheduled a meeting for next Monday with Stubblefield's agent, Neil Cornrich.

A Pro Bowl selection last season and the defensive rookie of the year in 1993, Stubblefield wants a long-term contract worth about $4 million a year. San Francisco has offered about half that, and Cornrich has indicated Stubblefield would be willing to take less over a shorter term.

At Monday's practice, fullback William Floyd was dazed by a hit during a short-yardage scrimmage. Floyd was taken off the field in a cart and skipped the afternoon session.


Philadelphia signed free agent tight end Clarence Williams and waived tight end Bryce Burnett and wide receiver Bernard Ford.


New Orleans waived former cornerback Darryl Wren and signed linebacker Brian Jones.

Wren left camp last week to take care of his wife, who was having a miscarriage. The Saints had not heard from him since. They contacted his agent on Sunday, who told them Wren was not returning, coach Jim Mora said.


Cleveland finally signed its No. 1 draft pick, Ohio State linebacker Craig Powell, who ended an 18-day holdout Monday when he agreed to a four-year contract, then took part in two training camp practices.


St. Louis on Monday cut rookie free-agent wide receiver Tony Miller and signed offensive guard Olaf Hampel, a 305-pound free agent from Germany who played for Frankfurt of the World Football League.


Ray Buchanan and Tony Siragusa ended their holdouts Monday and returned to Indianapolis' training camp. Neither, however, promised they would stay through the rest of camp.

The Colts sent the two players five-day letters last week, warning of possible year-long suspensions. The players were given five days to return or risk the suspensions.


New England inside linebacker Vincent Brown underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee Monday to alleviate swelling and soreness that caused him to miss several practices at the beginning of the Patriots' training camp.

Last week, an MRI revealed no serious damage to the knee, but surgery was scheduled after swelling returned following a light workout at the end of the week.