Hold that signature: Anderson not joining Pats

New England not satisfied with RB's bill of health

Wire reports

FOXBORO, Mass. -- In an ironic twist, Jamal Anderson and the Patriots parted ways on Tuesday for the same reason they came together in the first place.

The Patriots courted the former Falcons running back in part because Antowain Smith reported to training camp in less than peak condition. But they opted not to sign Anderson because he, too, has not returned to full health.

Anderson, who is trying to return after ACL surgery on both knees, has been in Foxboro this week. He and his agent, James Sims, had agreed in principle to a contract that would have paid him a base salary of $650,000.


The Patriots had given Anderson a physical, which he passed. However, when the team worked him out, it decided not to sign him.

"Jamal came in (Monday). He just isn't ready to go at this point, so he's not with us," coach Bill Belichick said. "After watching him and talking to him, we both felt like this was the right thing to do at this time. Maybe we'll revisit it later on."

Belichick did not say so directly, but he gave every indication it simply was a matter of Anderson, who gained 1,846 yards on 410 carries in 1998, not being ready for NFL competition. The coach spoke at length about how ACL surgery has allowed players who have had knee injuries to return and become forces in the league.

It is entirely possible that Anderson could do that, too.

"I would probably tend to say yes, but that's totally his decision," Belichick said. "I think he has the talent to play and the skill to play…; If he wants to play again, he can."


Edgerrin James dislikes meaningless football games.

So the NFL's two-time rushing champ has shunned every opportunity to play during preseason. He didn't dress for the Colts' last two games, didn't even make the trip to Seattle for the preseason opener.


Now he's not even sure he wants to test his surgically repaired left knee in the team's exhibition finale Friday night at New Orleans.

"If I get out in a preseason game and run for 300 yards, what does that prove? Nothing," James has said.

To James, it wouldn't even prove that his knee is sound enough to withstand the hits of an NFL game.

Coach Tony Dungy and president Bill Polian have watched James in practice to see how the anterior cruciate ligament he tore last October holds up.

James has not missed a practice, although the team worked him only once a day during two-a-days. His cuts and pass routes have been sharp and he appears to be at full speed.

For a month, the Colts have said they didn't expect James to play until the final exhibition game. Now that appears in doubt, too.

"We're going to see where he is," Dungy said. "If he's ready to go, and the trainers feel well about it, then he will go. If not, he won't."



The Giants tried out a parade of place-kickers and punters on Tuesday, hoping to find an alternative to the injured kicker Owen Pochman and the inconsistent punter Rodney Williams.

By the end of the day, though, Pochman and Williams had won a reprieve. The Giants did not sign kicker Cary Blanchard, who had been in Giants camp before, or Steve Videtich, the Arena Football League's kicker of the year with the New Jersey Gladiators. The team also did not sign any of the three punters who tried out, Matt Allan, Lee Johnson and Steve Cheek.


Anthony Clement, the tallest player in the Arizona Cardinals' huge, expensive offensive line, will undergo season-ending surgery to repair his torn right triceps.

Coach Dave McGinnis said doctors confirmed late Tuesday that Clement's triceps were torn from his elbow in last Saturday night's 19-13 preseason loss to Denver.

The injury means Leonard Davis, the No. 2 pick overall in last year's draft, will shift from right guard to Clement's right tackle position.

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