QB Ham lines up defensive help


August 19, 1994|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Quarterback Tracy Ham gets an assist in Baltimore's latest defensive coup, the recruitment of free agent Elfrid Payton.

Payton said yesterday that he has agreed to contract terms with the CFLs and that a phone call from Ham triggered the deal.

"I was leaning toward going to Las Vegas when Tracy gave me a call, and gave me Coach [Don] Matthews' number," Payton said.

Matthews had little trouble selling Baltimore to Payton, 26, who led the CFL in sacks with 22 last season in Winnipeg, but struggled with the expansion Shreveport Pirates this season. When he was released after five games, he had one sack.

"They're a contending team and they showed a lot of interest," Payton said of the CFLs. "And I'm staying in the East."

Payton will sign a one-year contract with an option when he arrives in Baltimore today, although he won't play until Aug. 27 at Hamilton. He will play rush end in a defensive front that includes Jearld Baylis, last year's Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the league, at tackle, and O. J. Brigance, second in sacks in 1993 with 21, at the other rush end.

The best part of that arrangement, Payton said, is that he won't have to face a constant double-team as he did in Shreveport. "And teams can't run away from me or they'll run into O. J. and Jearld," he said. "I won't have all the pressure on me."

As a bonus, Payton, a Louisiana native, gets to go back to Shreveport for a Sept. 3 game.

"I think they [the Pirates] made a mistake," he said. "I don't feel I was the problem . . . In the long run, it'll be a bad move they did. I'll see to it."

Matching set

The CFLs already had one set of twins on the roster, on defense. Now, they've got a matching pair for offense.

The team signed identical twins John and Guy Earle, both recent NFL cuts. John, a 6-foot-5, 284-pound guard and long-snapper, was cut by the Atlanta Falcons, and has had tryouts with the Cincinnati Bengals (11th-round draft pick in 1992), Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots.

Guy, a 6-4, 290 guard, was on the Washington Redskins' practice roster last year and was just released. Both will go on the practice roster. The Goodwins -- rush end Malcolm and linebacker Matt -- are the defensive twins.

Not for the Birds

Three Hall of Fame Colts -- John Unitas, Lenny Moore and Art Donovan -- will be inducted into the CFLs' Ring of Honor at Memorial Stadium tomorrow night, but scratch the three Orioles who received invitations. Cal Ripken declined, Brooks Robinson has a golf date, and Frank Robinson will be inducted Sept. 10.

Injury update

Middle linebacker Ricky Andrews was unable to finish practice yesterday because of back spasms, which may mean an increased role tomorrow for backup Melendez Byrd . . . Defensive tackle Robert Presbury will be fitted for a new cast, with more padding inside, on his broken right thumb today. Presbury said he won't be affected by the groin injury he $H suffered last week . . . Lester Smith replaces Stan Petry (neck) as punt returner for the second straight week, and Sheldon Canley fills in for Mike Pringle returning kickoffs. Pringle will play at running back.

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