Training camp is turning into trainers' camp for the San Francisco 49ers.
Coach George Seifert is so strapped for healthy players that he's already been forced to shorten one practice. Ten players, including nose tackle Michael Carter and right offensive tackle Harris Barton, were held out of drills yesterday because of injuries.
"A number of guys are hurt and there is no need to stay out there and prove we're Bear Bryant's Texas A&M team," Seifert said. When Bryant was the Aggies' coach in the 1950s, he was known for his grueling preseason practices.
Seifert was true to his word -- he gave the 49ers the day off today. But that came a day late for offensive tackle Frank Pollack, who injured his left knee during a field goal protection drill yesterday. His status for Monday's exhibition game against the San Diego Chargers is unknown.
Pollack, locked in a battle with rookie Harry Boatswain for a roster spot, was waiting to be examined by a doctor.
"At this moment, the prognosis from the trainers is not as bad as I first suspected," Seifert said. "But again, he still has to be looked at by a doctor. Hopefully, it is just a strain and he won't be out too long."
Seifert said he expected newly acquired running back Terrence Flagler to play against the Chargers. Flagler, re-acquired in a trade Monday with the Phoenix Cardinals, played for San Francisco from 1987 through 1989.
* ON DOTTED LINE: The Pittsburgh Steelers have signed University of Florida wide receiver Ernie Mills. The third-round pick agreed to a two-year contract reportedly worth $840,000 and has an option for a third year.
* FOLDED CARDS: NFL teams must reduce their rosters to 60 players by Aug. 20, so the Phoenix Cardinals got going, waiving five players to trim their roster to 72.
The team released cornerbacks Herbie Anderson and Anthony Parker, punter Richard Jones, wide receiver Brent Nyberg and linebacker John Brantley.
Anderson, a 10th-round pick this year, was the only draftee in the group. He had started three years for Texas A&I. Parker and Jones were local players, attending high school in Tempe and Scottsdale, respectively.
Parker, an All-Pac 10 selection at both cornerback and return specialist at Arizona State, had been sidelined most of camp by a hamstring pull.
* LION MOVES: Detroit waived linebacker Rob Hinckley and cornerback Riley Ware. Hinckley, the Lions' fourth-round draft choice out of Stanford last year, was sidelined all last season with a foot injury. He sustained another foot injury in training camp this season and played sparingly in the team's first three exhibition games.
* JAMES RELEASED: Strong safety Roland James isn't hurt, but New England no longer wants him. The team said it would waive him if he doesn't retire.
"We aren't going to announce every cut we make like this," Patriots coach Dick MacPherson said, "but we felt that somebody who served the team as long as he did deserves this kind of attention."
James, tied for second with Ron Hall on the team's career interception list with 29, was the 14th player taken in the 1980 draft. He started 122 of the 145 games he played for the Patriots and was in all 20 games during the 1985 season when New England went to the Super Bowl. But the Patriots didn't want to start the regular season with a 33-year-old at strong safety and 32-year-old Fred Marion at free safety.
"Sometimes, age and youth is a good mix," MacPherson said. "Too much of one is not a good thing, however, so we made a decision that Fred Marion will be the veteran player back there."
In another move by the Patriots, free-agent running back Steve Strachan left camp. Strachan, out of football last season after spending five years with the Los Angeles Raiders, was plagued by leg injuries.