Giants sign Hostetler QB duel begins

PRO FOOTBALL Notes

July 17, 1991

The fight for the New York Giants quarterback job is under way, and it figures to be a long one.

Jeff Hostetler, the longtime backup who led the Giants to victory in the Super Bowl after Phil Simms was hurt in December, reached a contract agreement late Monday night as the first day of training camp ended.

Terms of the deal were not released, but it should raise Hostetler's salary from $425,000 to more than a $1 million, putting him on equal footing with Simms, who will make $1.4 million in the final year of his three-year contract.

* SEAHAWKS: Seattle signed veteran tight end Mike Tice, a former Maryland quarterback. Tice, who ranks 13th in Seahawks history with 82 receptions for 696 yards and five touchdowns, signed for one season.

* 49ERS: Offensive tackle Bubba Paris ended a three-day holdout and squeezed into training camp in Rocklin, Calif., 2 pounds over a team-imposed weight limit.

Paris, who has battled weight problems throughout his career, reported at 327 pounds and passed his physical. The team once sent him to a weight-loss clinic.

Last season, Paris' weight ranged from 340 to 370 pounds, and his coaches were insistent that he bring it down and keep it down this year.

The signings of Paris to a one-year contract and linebacker Bill Romanowski to a two-year deal completed contract matters for the 49ers.

In another development, the 49ers put punter Barry Helton on the physically-unable-to-perform list because of a lingering groin-muscle injury.

Free-agent Ralf Mojsiejenko, released late last season by the Washington Redskins, is the only punter left in camp, although Seifert said others will be auditioned.

* PATRIOTS: New England signed two of its 1991 draft picks, running back Jon Vaughn and cornerback David Key, as well as veteran center Gene Chilton, leaving the club with two of its 15 draft choices unsigned.

They are running back Leonard Russell of Arizona State, their second pick of the first round, and quarterback Scott Zolak of Maryland, a fourth-round pick.

* BRONCOS: Four-time Pro Bowl player Dennis Smith will retire after this season, he says.

"This is my victory tour," the 32-year-old defensive back said at Denver Broncos training camp yesterday. "I'm looking at it as my last year. When I came into the league, I wanted to play 10 years. Anything after that is icing. I've already got the cake."

Smith earned a reputation in the league as one of the hardest-hitting strong safeties in the game. But all the hitting has taken a toll.

He is sitting out drills because of a sore right knee, which underwent arthroscopic surgery earlier this year. It is the latest in a string of injuries that has included a broken finger, two broken wrists, a broken forearm and shoulder separations.

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