Rams finally sign third-round pick Incognito

Updated: September 29, 2005, 10:34 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

St. Louis Rams: Three weeks into the season and more than five months after the draft, Richie Incognito became the last player picked to sign when he agreed Thursday to a four-year contract with the St. Louis Rams.

ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli reports that the four-year contract is worth about $1.9 million and includes a $549,000 signing bonus. St. Louis also guaranteed the base salary for the first year of the contract.

The offensive guard was the second of the Rams' two third-round picks, and the 81st overall pick. Incognito had a kneecap injury at the time of the draft, and coach Mike Martz said then he would have been a first-rounder otherwise.

Incognito, an All-Big 12 selection at Nebraska as a sophomore in 2003, missed last season after getting kicked out of Oregon. He has been rehabbing from the knee injury during on-and-off negotiations.

Martz was skeptical about Incognito's chances of playing anytime soon.

"At this point, what difference does it make in terms of this season?" Martz said. "To think that he's going to be ready to play for us, we're so far along with what we have and pleased with what we have.

"I want to get him out on the field and get him involved with this team, that's first. Then, if he can eventually do something, that's great, but that's a stretch to say."

• Martz also said running back Steven Jackson, questionable with a chest injury, would play Sunday against the Giants in New York. Jackson had 48 yards on 12 carries last week against the Titans and has 201 yards on the season with a 4.1-yard average and one touchdown.

"Obviously, he's going to play," Martz said. "He's going to be hurting during the week, and it's going to be hard for him to move around for a while, but as each week goes by he'll get better and better."

Jackson was injured in the third quarter of the Titans game when he said he ended up on the bottom of a pile of tacklers. He said it hurt more to run than to block.

Tennessee Titans: Tennessee quarterback Steve McNair practiced Thursday, but did not take part in all drills as he recovers from a sore right foot.

McNair said he didn't even notice that his right foot had been stepped on in last week's 31-27 loss to St. Louis until halftime. But he said he felt good Thursday.

"I just wanted to rest it for a day. I came out there, did something today and felt pretty good. Tomorrow I'll do more, probably all the team [drills]. I just wanted to rest. I didn't want to take a chance of going out and getting it even more sore," McNair said.

The Titans added defensive end Travis LaBoy to the injury report as questionable with a groin injury. Coach Jeff Fisher said LaBoy strained his groin during practice Wednesday.

But receiver Drew Bennett, who missed practice Wednesday, was back on the field Thursday with his sore foot.

Linebacker Peter Sirmon (right knee) and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (left knee) did not practice. Fisher said Haynesworth, who sprained his knee on Sept. 18 against Baltimore and missed last week's loss at St. Louis, has enough experience that he could play without practicing.

San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are scrambling to restructure a secondary that's allowing an NFL-worst 369 yards passing a game.

Mike Rumph, who started the season's first three games at free safety, was placed on injured reserve Thursday after tearing a muscle in his right foot during practice Wednesday. Ahmed Plummer, the team's starting left cornerback, had surgery on his left ankle Thursday and will be out up to six weeks.

Mike Adams took Rumph's place at safety earlier in the week, and rookie Derrick Johnson worked at left cornerback with the first-team defense during Thursday's practice.

Both players will be making their first NFL start Sunday night when the 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

The 49ers also are working veteran cornerback Willie Middlebrooks into their coverage schemes. Middlebrooks rejoined the team Wednesday after being released by San Francisco on Sept. 3.

The 49ers currently have just six healthy defensive backs on their 53-man roster as they prepare to face an Arizona team that ranks fifth in the NFC in passing offense.

Buffalo Bills: Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish, who suffered an injury to his right wrist in training camp last month, is still two to three weeks away from being ready to play, Buffalo coach Mike Mularkey said.

Mularkey said the second-round draft pick out of Miami will have the wrist assessed next week.

"It's frustrating, but I just have to be patient and go through the process," Parrish said Thursday.

Parrish has been unable to catch any balls, but continues to do conditioning work as well as staying after practice to run routes.

"When everything is all said and done and I'm ready to go out, I won't miss a beat," he said.

Offensive lineman Mike Williams and backup safety Coy Wire both missed their second straight practice Thursday. They're questionable for the Bills upcoming game Sunday in San Antonio against New Orleans.

Williams is being hampered by a left ankle injury, which forced him to miss Sunday's game against Atlanta. Wire suffered a bruised thigh in the Falcons game.

Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals moved to shore up their cornerback position by re-signing Robert Tate. To make room, they released middle linebacker Lester Towns.

Tate played in all 16 games for the Cardinals last season, but was released in the team's final roster cut on Sept. 3.

Arizona will be without starting cornerback Antrel Rolle for Sunday night's game against San Francisco in Mexico City. The rookie is seeking a second opinion about his injured left knee. He probably will undergo arthroscopic surgery and be sidelined four to five weeks.

The other starting cornerback, David Macklin, has a sore left hamstring, but practiced on Thursday and probably will play Sunday.

Towns was with Arizona during training camp, but was released Sept. 3. He was re-signed on Sept. 13.

TV blackout lifted for Bills-Saints game
The NFL lifted the blackout on the Buffalo-New Orleans game Sunday at the Alamodome, allowing the San Antonio CBS affiliate to carry the contest.

Saints home games in San Antonio against Atlanta on Oct. 16 and Detroit on Dec. 24 also may be televised by the local affiliate, the league announced Thursday. The Saints relocated to the Alamodome because of Hurricane Katrina.

In two weeks, more than 140,000 tickets were sold for the three games in San Antonio. The Saints will play four games in Baton Rouge, La.

"The NFL would like to congratulate both the New Orleans Saints and the greater San Antonio community for a job well done under very difficult circumstances," NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said. "To sell more than 140,000 tickets under such extraordinary adversity is a testament to everyone involved."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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