Bears, Enis can't find any contract daylight Proposals exchanged but impasse carries on

August 07, 1998|By CHICAGO TRIBUNE

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. -- The Curtis Enis contract impasse appears headed for a third week after he and the Chicago Bears exchanged proposals yesterday that did little to resolve the sticking points of total dollars and voidable years.

The lengthening stalemate itself soon may become a factor in negotiations. Enis is missing the first preseason game tomorrow night at Camden Yards. He is all but assured of missing next week's game even if he is signed. So his 1998 value to the Bears begins to diminish along with his chances of contributing by the opener.

As the Bears' position hardens, Enis' side will need to give some if there is to be a deal and there hasn't been much of that. The Enis demand is still "significantly" higher than the $14.5 million, six-year Oakland Raiders contract that Charles Woodson, taken one pick ahead of Enis at No. 4, signed. Enis has asked for a six-year deal that could be shortened to four based on production.

"We talked and swapped proposals but we're still not there," Bears vice president Ted Phillips said. "They're still hanging their hat on a voidable deal. Until they start looking at deals that are more in line with what's realistic, it's going to be tough to get a deal done. I'm not anticipating a response before the weekend."

Of the last 13 running backs taken in the first rounds of drafts, only three have received any sort of voidable-years contracts. Quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf agreed to deals with voidable years, "but the first couple of picks of the draft are different. They don't have any basis for getting [voidable years]; they just want them," Phillips said.

Pub Date: 8/07/98

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