Lions' Sanders ends 33-day holdout

August 13, 1991

Barry Sanders got more money from the Detroit Lions, and so will some of the linemen who block for the running back.

Sanders, the league's leading rusher last year with 1,304 yards, signed a one-year extension on his contract yesterday, ending a 33-day absence from camp that will cost him $49,500 in fines.

Lions executive vice president and chief operating officer Chuck Schmidt said Sanders received a $2.1 million signing bonus, payable over the next three seasons. Schmidt said Sanders will be paid $600,000 for this season and receive $200,000 annual raises for the next two seasons, bringing his pay to $1 million by 1993.

Sanders signed a five-year contract in 1989 worth $5.9 million. Schmidt said the extension could bring Sanders' six-year contract to $10.1 million.

His contract calls for the Lions to pay bonuses to certain linemen if Sanders' statistics pass certain levels. Sanders, who said he came up with the idea in January, and others were vague about which players would receive money, how much they would receive or at what level the bonuses would kick in.

* DOLPHINS: Starting halfback Sammie Smith will miss at least four weeks after damaging ligaments in his left knee during Miami's 29-13 exhibition victory over Tampa Bay on Saturday.

Smith underwent a Magnetic Resonance Imaging test yesterday that confirmed the damage to his medial collateral ligament. A Dolphins spokesman said the injury will not require surgery and could keep him out six weeks.

* GIANTS: Pro Bowl nose tackle Erik Howard ended a nearly monthlong holdout and practiced yesterday after failing to get the Super Bowl champions to renegotiate his contract.

The 27-day holdout has the potential of costing Howard $40,500 in fines, based on the NFL maximum of $1,500 for each day a signed player misses camp.

Howard is in the final year of a two-year contract that will earn him $550,000 this season.

* 49ERS: San Francisco reacquired running back Terrance Flagler from the Phoenix Cardinals for an undisclosed draft choice.

Flagler, the 49ers second first-round pick in the 1987 draft, was traded along with defensive end Danny Stubbs to Dallas before the 1990 season. The Cowboys later waived Flagler and he signed with Phoenix.

* OILERS: Free safety Terry Kinard, who started all 16 games last season, walked off the practice field and left training camp. Kinard, the team's fifth leading tackler in 1990, started the afternoon workout, the team said, but at some point left the field, packed his clothes, signed out of the dormitory and left.

Kinard, a nine-year veteran from Clemson, signed with the Oilers prior to last season as a Plan B free agent from the New York Giants.

* CHIEFS: Surgery to repair starting inside linebacker Percy Snow's broken right ankle was successful. Snow, the Chiefs' top draft pick last year and 13th overall, fractured his ankle Sunday night in a motor-scooter accident. Coach Marty Schottenheimer, reversing an early policy, has declared the small motorized bikes off-limits.

The team did not announced how long they expected Snow to be out of action.

* PATRIOTS: Roland James, the starting strong safety since 1980, has been given the option of retiring or being waived. James was reportedly considering the decision last night and the team will make an official announcement today.

* LAWSUIT: Raiders running back Marcus Allen and Chargers cornerback Gill Byrd filed an antitrust action suing the NFL and its teams for restricting their bargaining power as free agents. Allen and Byrd allege that the NFL and the 28 teams are a monopoly with rules of compensation that act as a strong disincentive for clubs wishing to acquire another team's players. The monopoly, they claim, prohibits players from getting the best deal.

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