Linebacker Mark Fields, the New Orleans Saints’ No. 1 pick this year, has agreed to a four-year contract worth $5 million.
Fields, the first linebacker taken in the first round by the Saints in a decade, was the Pacific-10 defensive player of the year for Washington State in 1994.
“I wanted to be on time for camp,” Fields said Friday. “I thought it would be settled earlier than it was; I’m satisfied with it. I’m glad I didn’t have to hold out or anything. I’m ready to get going.”
He’s being touted as the heir apparent to Sam Mills, the All-Pro who was labeled too short to play in the NFL before becoming a team leader with the Saints.
At Missouri City, Texas, Minnesota Vikings quarterback Warren Moon was charged with misdemeanor assault, just hours after publicly addressing a domestic dispute with his wife that occurred Tuesday.
Moon, who was charged with a Class A misdemeanor, surrendered to authorities and appeared Friday at 8:30 p.m. before a municipal judge in Missouri City, where his arraignment was set for Sept. 19. Moon was released on $1,000 personal recognizance bond.
Earlier in the day, the former Washington Huskies star and his family addressed a media gathering in which he said he apologized to his wife, his children and his fans for slapping and choking his wife earlier this week and said he was seeking counseling to put his personal life back in order.
“I’ve made a tremendous mistake and take full responsibility for it,” Moon, seated on a sofa next to his wife, Felicia, and flanked by their four children, said at their palatial suburban Houston home.
On Tuesday, Felicia Moon delivered a sworn affidavit to Missouri City police after a 911 call was placed from the home of the couple, who have been married 14 years, notifying authorities an assault was taking place.
She told police and repeated Friday she would not press assault charges. In Texas, however, officials can file criminal charges even though the alleged victim decides against prosecution.
The Class A misdemeanor assault charge carries a $4,000 fine and as much as a year in jail.
Raiders almost home free
In Chicago, the Raiders got permission from NFL owners to move back to Oakland, where they spent their first 22 seasons before going to Los Angeles in 1982.
But, as often happens when NFL owners get involved with Al Davis, there remain a few details. In this case, they involve the sharing of revenue from permanent seat licenses with the other 29 teams.
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who urged the owners to approve the move in a memo faxed to the teams on Wednesday, said he hopes to have that done in a few days.
The vote on the move was 23-0 with five abstentions, the exact number of affirmative votes needed. One of the abstentions was from Davis, who said he felt he had enough votes and didn’t need his own.
No Bettis in St. Louie
The St. Louis Rams have barely settled into their new home, and already controversy has developed. Star running back Jerome Bettis is a no-show at training camp.
Bettis, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher and the team’s marquee player, is the only signed player missing from camp.
Coach Rich Brooks said he doesn’t know where Bettis is and hasn’t talked to him. Bettis’ agent, Lamont Smith, told Brooks that Bettis wants a new contract.
“We certainly are not interested in doing that at this stage,” Brooks said. “If we were, we’d probably have a line at our door.”
Bettis is in the third year of a five-year, $4.65 million deal.
Around the league
Tampa Bay signed receiver Courtney Hawkins to a one-year deal, enabling the Bucs to open camp with all players signed and present.
Despite Natrone Means’ threatened holdout, general manager Bobby Beathard said San Diego won’t change its contract offer.
San Diego is offering a four-year deal worth more than $6 million. Means is asking for a five-year contract for $21 million.
Rookie offensive lineman Tony Boselli is expected to miss all of Jacksonville’s exhibition games and perhaps the first few games of the regular season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
San Francisco cut defensive end Todd Kelly, a 1993 first-round draft pick who never developed the way the 49ers hoped. Kelly also became expendable because of his $425,000 salary.