NFL -- Phillips Agrees To Deal With Rams

MACOMB, Ill. - Troubled running back Lawrence Phillips, who slipped to sixth overall in the draft because of his troubles with the law, has agreed to a three-year deal with the St. Louis Rams.

However, Phillips reportedly will receive no signing bonus. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported the deal is worth $5.625 million over the three years.

By contrast, Eddie Kennison, the 18th overall picked, received a $2 million bonus from the Rams.

Phillips has missed 16 days of training camp and was the last of 10 Rams draft picks to sign. The only unsigned player still listed on the club's roster is quarterback Mark Rypien, who is a free agent.

Phillips will make about $1.5 million this year, $1.875 million next year and $2.25 million in 1998 - making the total package $5.625 million, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He also has a chance to receive some guaranteed money in the future if he meets certain conditions.

The Rams made Phillips the sixth overall pick in the draft in April after several clubs passed on the talented tailback from the University of Nebraska. Phillips is serving a one-year probation for misdemeanor assault of a former girlfriend in Nebraska.

That conviction complicated contract negotiations. Then, Phillips was arrested on a drunken-driving charge in California in June. Officials in Nebraska say they probably will seek to revoke Phillips' probation if he's found guilty on that charge. If his probation is revoked, Phillips gets 30 days in jail.

His pre-trial hearing on the driving charge is Aug. 28.


DAVIE, Fla. - Tight end Johnny Mitchell, 25, who joined the Dolphins two weeks ago, says he no longer wants to play football and retired yesterday.

He has been bothered since last season by a bad back and as recently as late last week was suffering from chronic back pain. However, a club spokesman said that was not the reason for the decision.

Mitchell, 6 feet 3 and 241 pounds, signed with the Dolphins on July 17 as a free agent after playing his first four NFL seasons with the Jets. He caught 158 passes and scored 16 touchdowns in his four seasons with the Jets.

The tight end job falls to former Colt and Raider starter Kerry Cash.


ANDERSON, Ind. - Richard Dent is attempting a comeback with the Indianapolis Colts.

Dent, the all-time sack leader of the Bears and fourth on the NFL's all-time list with 126 1/2, signed and practiced with the Colts yesterday. He has been out of football since October, when he was waived by the Bears.

Also attempting a comeback is offensive lineman Tony Mandarich, who is trying to make the Colts' roster after being out of football since 1992.


ROCKLIN, Calif. - Jerry Rice arrived at the San Francisco 49ers' training camp nine days late, saying his delay was because of his wife's health and was not a ploy to renegotiate his contract, which will end after the 1997 season.

Rice, 33, was with his wife Jackie, who has suffered complications since giving birth to a daughter, Jada Symone, in mid-May.

"The situation with my wife put everything in perspective," Rice said. "Jackie's my idol now because she's endured a lot and is still keeping the family in order. She's my role model."