Cowboys safety out through camp, likely longer

Updated: July 26, 2004, 10:55 PM ET
Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys: Safety Darren Woodson will have surgery on his injured back Tuesday. He will miss all of training camp and likely the start of the regular season.

Woodson, 35, visited a doctor Monday, and the decision was made to perform surgery to remove a herniated disk. He will be sidelined six to eight weeks, a period that extends past the Cowboys' regular-season opener Sept. 12 at Minnesota.

Woodson, going into his 13th season, is the team's career tackles leader with 1,350 and the only remaining player who was part of all three Super Bowl wins by the Cowboys in the 1990s. His 99 tackles last season were the third most on the team.

Fourth-year cornerback Tony Dixon or Keith Davis, who spent this spring in NFL Europe, are the likely candidates to replace Woodson as the starter during camp.

  • Also on Monday, the Cowboys released defensive tackle Willie Blade and James Whalen, one of six tight ends on the roster. Two more moves have to be made before training camp begins Saturday in Oxnard, Calif. Dallas is expected to release quarterback Chad Hutchinson and put running back Erik Bickerstaff on injured reserve.

    Houston Texans: Safety Marcus Coleman was convicted Monday of a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

    After deliberating nearly seven hours over two days, a jury concluded Coleman was driving while intoxicated when he crashed his car in May. The jury will begin considering his punishment on Tuesday. Coleman faces up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

    A police video played at the trial showed him stumble when asked to walk a straight line and lose his balance when asked to stand on one leg.

    Coleman testified he wasn't intoxicated and blamed the crash on being distracted while adjusting his car radio. But he refused to take a breath test after his arrest, a move that resulted in the suspension of his driver's license for six months.

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Offensive tackle Max Starks signed a three-year contract worth $1.45 million with the team on Monday, leaving Pittsburgh with just one unsigned draft pick.

    Starks, a third-round pick, was a left tackle at Florida but will get the chance to win a starting job at right tackle. His contract included a $530,000 signing bonus.

    Starks' signing leaves the Steelers with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, their first round pick, unsigned.

    The Steelers are hopeful of signing Roethlisberger before or shortly after they open training camp Friday in Latrobe.

    Buffalo Bills: Third-round draft choice Tim Anderson reached an agreement with the Bills.

    Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 307-pound defensive tackle, was a three-year starter with Ohio State, helping the Buckeyes to the 2002 national championship. He was the only defensive player chosen by the Bills in the draft.

    No contract terms were revealed.

    The Bills still have to hash out contracts with wide receiver Lee Evans of Wisconsin and quarterback J.P. Losman of Tulane. Evans was the team's first pick in the first round draft, Losman was the second selection in round one.

    Philadelphia Eagles: Cornerback Dexter Wynn and quarterback Andy Hall signed four-year contracts with the Eagles on Monday, one day before rookies are to report for training camp.

    Wynn, a sixth-round draft pick, was a three-year starter at Colorado State. Hall, picked ahead of Wynn in the same round, led Delaware to the 2003 Division I-AA national title.

    The signings leave the Eagles with five unsigned draft picks, including right guard Shane Andrews, the 16th overall selection.

    Wynn recorded 175 tackles, five sacks, and four interceptions in 36 games. He also returned 73 kickoffs for 1,967 yards (29.0 average) and two touchdowns, and had 91 punt returns for 1,385 yards (15.2 average) and one TD.

    Hall completed 393 of 684 passes for 4,596 yards, 34 TDs and 12 INTs in 27 games for the Blue Hens.

    Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals claimed punter Eddie Johnson off waivers from the Minnesota Vikings, who replaced him in the offseason.

    Johnson was the Vikings' sixth-round pick out of Idaho State last year, but averaged only 39.1 yards and muffed snaps in three consecutive games. One fumble set up a Chicago field goal in the Bears' 13-10 win Dec. 14.

    The Vikings signed free agent punter Darren Bennett to a two-year deal in March.

    Kyle Richardson became the Bengals' punter last season, and has a year left on his contract. The Bengals also signed punter Kyle Larson from Nebraska as an undrafted free agent last April.

    Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens reached an agreement on a five-year contract with defensive end Dwan Edwards, assuring that the their first draft pick will be uniform for the first practice of training camp.

    Edwards, selected in the second round with the 51st overall pick, is expected to report to camp Thursday and begin practice with the rest of the team Friday.

    The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Edwards, who played tackle at Oregon State, had 159 tackles over a four-year career. He also had 12 1/2 sacks and recovered three fumbles.

    The Ravens also signed third-round pick Devard Darling to a three-year deal, and reached agreement with fifth-round selection Roderick Green on a three-year contract.

    Darling is a wide receiver and Green is a linebacker.

    Only Derek Abney (7th round, 244th overall), and Clarence Moore (6th round, 199th overall) have not agreed to contracts. The Ravens did not have a first-round pick in 2004.

    Chicago Bears: Fifth-round draft pick Claude Harriott agreed to terms Monday on a four-year contract.

    The defensive end from Pittsburgh is the fifth of Chicago's eight draft choices to reach an agreement. The Bears report to training camp Tuesday night in Bourbonnais.

    Still unsigned is top pick Tommie Harris, a defensive tackle from Oklahoma; third-round selection Bernard Berrian, a wide receiver from Fresno State, and the team's other fifth-rounder, Craig Krenzel, a quarterback from Ohio State.

    Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press