Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL NOTEBOOK; Jaguars Close to Signing Cleveland Cornerback

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NFL NOTEBOOK; Jaguars Close to Signing Cleveland Cornerback

Article excerpt

The Jaguars, continuing to concentrate on young players in free agency, are close to signing cornerback Lewis Sanders of the Cleveland Browns.

Sanders, 25, was the Browns' fourth-round pick in the 2000 draft out of Maryland, but his career has been hindered by injuries.

He missed the entire 2001 season with a calcium deposit on his hip and was bothered by a groin injury at the end of last season. He played all 16 games in 2002 and started two of them. He has mainly been a reserve defensive back and a special teams player.

Sanders' agent, Kevin Pompey, said Sanders is healthy and thinks he can come in and compete for the starting job vacated by Fernando Bryant, who signed with the Detroit Lions on Friday.

Pompey said Sanders wants to sign only a one-year deal because he thinks he can become more valuable if he has a good season this fall.

"Regardless of the other corners they're going to bring in, he's going to compete for a starting job," Pompey said.

The Jaguars are likely to add more cornerbacks either in the draft or free agency as they seek a replacement for Bryant.

Pompey said Green Bay and Oakland were interested in Sanders, and the Browns also expressed interest in keeping him, but he thinks there's more of an opportunity in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars previously signed tight end Todd Yoder of Tampa Bay and linebacker Tommy Hendricks of Miami. Like Sanders, they're both 25 and have four years experience in the league.

FALCONS SIGN COLEMAN

After agreeing to pay defensive tackle Rod Coleman a $10 million signing bonus Saturday, the Atlanta Falcons arranged a meeting with quarterback Jeff Garcia.

Coleman, who will sign a six-year deal Monday worth $28.5 million, started a career-high 12 games and had 5 1/2 sacks for Oakland last season. The Raiders' fifth-round draft pick out of East Carolina in 1999, Coleman led NFL interior linemen with 11 sacks two years ago.

FREE AGENT ROUNDUP

The Arizona Cardinals signed free-agent quarterback Shaun King, who led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the NFC title game following the 1999 season, to a multiyear contract. …

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