Source: Sharper to visit Panthers today

Free agent said to be frustrated with Ravens

NFL notes

March 22, 2001|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

As negotiations continue to stall with the Ravens, free-agent linebacker Jamie Sharper will visit the Carolina Panthers today, a league source said.

The source added that Sharper has become increasingly frustrated in his talks with the Ravens and estimated his chances of returning at about "50-50." Sharper is considered the top defensive player currently in the free-agent market.

On Monday, it was reported that Sharper was willing to accept the Ravens' five-year, $23 million offer before the team took it off the table. The Ravens have denied the removal of any proposal.

The team is expected to talk about its plan regarding Sharper on Saturday, when owner Art Modell, coach Brian Billick and vice president of player personnel Ozzie Newsome meet before the NFL meetings in Palm Desert, Calif. It is believed they fear overpaying for Sharper in this buyer-friendly free-agent market.

Sharper's agent, Tony Agnone, could not be reached to comment last night. He has previously said he has talked with the Panthers, Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Chicago Bears.

MORE RAVENS: Billick will be today's guest on ESPN's "Up Close," which was taped Tuesday. ... There is speculation that free-agent running back Priest Holmes, a backup with the Ravens last season, has narrowed his choices to the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns. ... Defensive back Robert Bailey, who was cut by the Ravens last week, appeared on the "Young and the Restless" on Monday.

RAIDERS: NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue testified that a 1995 plan for a Raiders stadium at Hollywood Park would have let a second team sharing the facility earn $4.4 million more than the Raiders on luxury suites and club seats.

Raiders attorney Joseph Alioto suggested in questioning of Tagliabue that the Raiders were not aware of the different terms for a second team.

"Is it true those numbers were concealed from the Raiders?" Alioto asked.

"That's not my understanding," Tagliabue testified.

The Raiders claim in a $1 billion Superior Court lawsuit that the NFL was trying to force the team out of the lucrative Los Angeles market by requiring that a second team be allowed to play at a new stadium to be built at the suburban Inglewood horse track.

The Raiders, who, at the time, were playing at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, ultimately returned to Oakland.

COWBOYS: Dallas re-signed free-agent starting fullback Robert Thomas to a three-year contract.

PACKERS: Green Bay re-signed unrestricted free-agent tight end Tyrone Davis to a multi-year contract.

Davis played through a shoulder injury most of last season and had 19 catches for 177 yards.

JETS: Free-agent linebacker James Darling, a special-teams standout from the Eagles, agreed to a contract, pending his physical.

BRONCOS: Right tackle Matt Lepsis re-signed for what newspaper reports called $28 million over six years.

FALCONS: Free-agent safety Gerald McBurrows agreed to a $2.6 million, three-year deal, with a $750,000 signing bonus, to stay with Atlanta.

BILLY SIMS: The 1978 Heisman Trophy winner and former Lion failed to appear at a child-support hearing in Tulsa, Okla., and a federal magistrate said she planned to issue an arrest warrant.

U.S. Magistrate Claire Eagan said she planned to issue an arrest order once the U.S. Attorney's Office provided proof that Sims was notified of the hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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