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Ex-Cougar Morris signs 5-year deal

Pro Bowl receiver Pickens finds new home with Titans

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Carl Pickens took less than a week to find a new team.

The Pro Bowl wide receiver agreed to a five-year deal with the AFC champion Titans on Wednesday, ending his free agency.

"We are delighted to add a player of Carl's caliber to the roster," said Titans general manager Floyd Reese, who did not reveal the financial terms of the deal.

"You always look for playmakers on both offense and defense, and Carl definitely qualifies as a playmaker."

Pickens was released last Thursday by the Cincinnati Bengals, the only team he has ever played for in the NFL. He was expected to sign the contract with Tennessee on Thursday and report to camp Sunday.

Pickens negotiated with the Titans by himself for two days. Asked Wednesday if he would have anyone read the new contract, Pickens said he knows what to look for after eight years in the NFL.

"This is my third time going through this situation," Pickens said. "I'm the one that has to deal with the deal at the end of the day, so I kind of know what I want. I don't need an agent to tell me yea or nay over a contract I can read and understand."

COLTS

First-round draft pick Rob Morris signed a five-year contract and reported to training camp.

Morris, a linebacker from Brigham Young, received a $5.6 million deal, including a $2.5 million signing bonus.

"I'm glad to be here," Morris said. "We got what we needed to get done, so now it's time to go to work.

"Things happened really fast, and I think both sides just realized that it was time for me to get into camp and to be with my teammates. I think we both came to a deal that was fair and that we felt good about."

Morris attended his first team meeting Wednesday night and was to take part in his first practice with Indianapolis on Thursday.

RAVENS

The Ravens are perplexed and more than a bit angry over the holdout of first-round pick Travis Taylor, who missed a third straight day of practice Wednesday.

Taylor, a wide receiver out of the University of Florida, was the 10th pick in the NFL draft.

The Ravens say they have offered him a deal that falls somewhere between the five-year, $7.86 million contract No. 9 pick Brian Urlacher signed with the Bears, and the five-year, $7.14 million pact Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne received from the Giants as the 11th choice.

"We've reached the point at which there is a deal on the table, and no deal will get better than what's on the table," Ravens President David Modell said.

Taylor's agents, Steve Weinberg and David Canter, have a different take on things.

"They have not offered us a slotted deal," Weinberg said in a telephone interview. "We both talked about a seven-year deal, agreed on the signing bonus and salary. All they had to do was agree on an incentive clause and we would have a deal, but the Ravens have no interest in negotiating."

PANTHERS

Rookie Deon Grant, vying to be the Panthers' starting free safety, fractured his left hip during practice and will be out for the season.

Panthers coach George Seifert said there was "a minimal chance" the injury could threaten Grant's career.

"It certainly doesn't sound like he'll play again this year," Seifert said.

Grant's injury was just one on what turned out to be a devastating day for the Panthers. Right guard James Dexter partially tore his right tricep, fullback Chris Hetherington fractured his right pinkie finger and defensive end Jason Peter strained his hamstring.

BILLS

Doug Flutie practiced with the first-team offense in place of Rob Johnson, who missed his second day because of a stomach virus.

Flutie, the Buffalo Bills' No. 2 quarterback entering this season, realizes he won't get the No. 1 job this easily.

"It's given me a shot to work with the first-stringers a little bit," Flutie said Wednesday, the sixth day of the Bills' training camp. "It feels good while it lasts. And Rob will be back and I'll sit back and watch."

EAGLES

Team owner Jeffrey Lurie is getting frustrated with the state of negotiations with first-round draft pick Corey Simon.

Lurie even said he would be willing to allow Simon to sit out the entire 2000 NFL season if Simon's negotiating stance doesn't change.