$90 million deal, game ball for Davis

Redskins back savors new contract, victory

September 05, 2000|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

ASHBURN, Va. - Coach Norv Turner rewarded Redskins running back Stephen Davis with a game ball for his 100-yard performance against Carolina.

It was the second gift Davis received from the organization in three days. The Pro Bowl running back signed a nine-year, $90 million contract with a $6.5 million signing bonus Saturday, which he made official at a news conference yesterday.

Davis, with his wife, mother and son by his side, talked about the relief of having a new contract that will keep him a Redskin for possibly the rest of his career.

"This lets me know how far I've come," Davis said. "Growing up, I've seen a lot of people who had opportunities but didn't make the best of them. I've made the best of my opportunity."

Davis rushed for 133 yards on 23 attempts in the Redskins' 20-17 win Sunday.

"Stephen, this has been a long fight for him," Turner said. "He was an outstanding college football player that had a couple of injuries. They changed the offense to go away from what his strengths were. We thought he could be a great runner ... drafted him not as high as he would have liked to be drafted. It wasn't easy. He had to wait his turn with Terry Allen here."

Davis got his chance to start last year with the departure of Allen and rushed for a team-record 1,405 yards. He scored 17 touchdowns and led the NFL with 4.8 yards per carry.

The Redskins signed Davis to a one-year contract during training camp after he was designated the franchise player at the end of last season. That kept Davis off the free-agent market.

Davis' agent, Steve Weinberg, and the Redskins failed to reach an agreement during the summer, and Davis signed the team's one-year tender worth $3.5 million.

Weinberg said he believed the new contract to be the richest in league history, though much of the big money is for the final few seasons and none of it, other than the signing bonus, is guaranteed. Davis should get close to $20 million for the first three seasons, according to Weinberg, and possibly more if he reaches certain incentives, such as rushing for 2,000 yards. Weinberg said Davis could earn as much as $45 million on top of the $90 million for the life of the contract.

The Redskins say Davis will make closer to $15.5 million for the first three seasons.

Either way, it is likely that the contract will be renegotiated in a couple of years and Davis will not see the major money in the final years of the deal.

Davis was one of the Redskins Turner could not say enough good things about after Sunday's victory. He, along with a good defensive showing, were major reasons the Redskins turned a three-point halftime deficit into a win.

"Regardless of the contract, I was going to go out and play," Davis said. "Because you got 10 other guys on offense trying to get a job done. And I'm part of it."

NOTES: The Redskins released running back Chad Dukes to make room for guard Tre Johnson after his one-game suspension. The NFL suspended Johnson for the Carolina game for his part in a fight during the playoff game against Detroit last season. ... Fullback Mike Sellers (shoulder) and running back Skip Hicks (knee) are expected back at practice tomorrow. ... Bruce Smith and Marco Coleman were awarded defensive game balls. Turner did not give one out for special teams.

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