Dan Marino, the golden-armed quarterback of the Miami Dolphins, cashed in yesterday when he agreed to perhaps the richest contract in NFL history.
Neither Dolphins management nor Marino would release details of the contract other than it was a five-year extension of his current pact which will pay him $1.6 million this year.
Several newspapers reported yesterday that Marino and his agent, Marvin Demoff, negotiated a contract for $25 million, including a $3 million signing bonus.
"This gives security for my family," said Marino, 29, who has three sons, ages 2 to 5. "As a dad, you always want that for your kids. The biggest thing for me is getting paid a lot of money for doing what I love to do."
If reports on Marino's contract prove true, it will have pushed him past Joe Montana's $3.5 million per year to make him the highest-paid player in the NFL.
"Montana's a great quarterback," Marino said, dodging the comparison at a news conference at Joe Robbie Stadium. "I just want to get one of his Super Bowl rings."
Marino, the second-highest rated quarterback of all time behind Montana, completed 306 of 531 passes for 3,563 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. Also in 1990, Marino reached the 30,000-yard career mark in his 114th game, the quickest any quarterback had ever achieved it.
* GIANTS: The quarterbacks seemed impatient after meeting with head coach Ray Handley for the second straight day.
Phil Simms, 35, who has started for most of his 12-year career and led the Giants to an 11-2 start last year before injuring a foot, did not talk to the media. Jeff Hostetler, 30, who carried the Giants through two playoff wins and the Super Bowl victory over Buffalo, had only a few words to say.
Asked if the situation had become tiring, he replied: "Yeah." Asked how he had handled it, Hostetler replied: "You wait."
Handley said he hoped to announce a decision today.
He said one option would be to use both quarterbacks, leaving opponents wondering whether to prepare for Simms' dropback style or Hostetler's scrambling. He said he got the idea while discussing the situation with his offensive coaches.
"Whether that's feasible or not, I'm not certain," Handley said. "I've said continually that these guys are interchangeable. Ideally, it would be a situation where if Simms or Hostetler came in, the team would respond and then say, 'Who was that?' "
Meanwhile, All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who sprained an ankle against the Jets Saturday night -- an injury that at first seemed much more serious -- returned to practice.
* STEELERS: Guard Terry Long was welcomed back to practice by coaches and teammates nearly one month after two suicide attempts and a positive steroid test.
Long, 32, faces a possible four-game suspension for the positive test results. He's allowed to practice pending his appeal to NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
Long declined interview requests, but he said he felt "all right" after his first workout since the second week of training camp.
Offensive line coach Jack Henry said Long looked somewhat rusty. He ran a few plays with the offense at Three Rivers Stadium but concentrated mostly on individual drills.
"He looked quick," Henry said. "He's probably still a little rusty mentally. He looks like he hasn't been in training camp, which he hasn't. He was asking a lot of questions, which he normally doesn't do."
Long's linemates were glad to have him back.
"He was joking around, cutting people up people like he hasn't missed a beat," offensive tackle Tunch Ilkin said. "That was nice to see."
* BROWNS: A freelance journalist who sued the team, claiming he was abused by players in the team's locker room, said he will receive a $21,000 settlement.
Ken Myers claimed six players hurled equipment at him and used foul language toward him in two incidents in late 1989 and early 1990. The outbursts came after players learned that Myers had written a story for the Akron Beacon Journal based on an interview with a woman who had been charged in 1988 with promoting prostitution. The article referred to certain Browns players the woman reportedly knew.
After the article was published, Kevin Byrne, a Browns vice president in charge of public relations, referred to Myers' article as the "dirtiest, yellowest, ugliest" side of journalism. As part of the settlement, Byrne is to write a letter of apology.
* BEARS: Neal Anderson returned to the team, trying to put behind him the tragedy involving his father and determined not to let it interfere with football.
Anderson's father, Tommy Anderson, 63, Thursday was charged with killing his fiancee, Laura Mae Tyson, 37, during an argument at her home in Graceville, Fla.
"I can't say a lot about it because the case is still going on," said Neal, who missed the 13-10 loss to the Raiders in Los Angeles to travel to Florida.
"It was something I had to go and take care of for me and my family," Anderson said. "Now it's time to come back and go to work."
* BRONCOS: Among the prominent names to go during yesterday's roster cuts were Melvin Bratton, Denver's starting fullback the past two seasons, and linebacker Rick Dennison, a 10-year veteran.