Smith makes it official

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 29, 2005

The Associated Press

The top pick of the NFL draft and several at the bottom of the first round are headed for training camps after reaching deals with their teams.

Utah quarterback Alex Smith, the first overall choice, officially signed with the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday. His monster six-year deal, worth $49.25 million but with potential to increase to $57 million with incentives, includes $24 million in guaranteed money.

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''I don't even know if I'd call this a childhood dream, because I don't know if I dared to dream like this,'' Smith said. ''Now it's time for me to go earn this money and prove that I deserve this money.

He'll compete with incumbent Tim Rattay and backup Ken Dorsey, but unless Smith is completely clueless - and this is a guy who got his economics degree from Utah in just two years - he will start.

''The primary goal is to get on the field,'' he said. ''I don't think this team is paying me this money to sit on the sideline.''

The other first-rounders who got deals Tuesday were No. 28 overall Luis Castillo with San Diego, No. 29 Marlin Jackson with Indianpolis, and No. 23 Fabian Washington with Oakland. They joined two players at the bottom of the first round, offensive lineman Logan Mankins of New England and defensive tackle Mike Patterson of Philadelphia, who signed deals Monday.

Cornerback Jackson, from Michigan, agreed to a five-year contract. Doug Hendrickson, Jackson's agent, confirmed the deal worth $6.95 million that will allow Jackson to report to training camp Wednesday with the rest of the team.

''Marlin is excited, and the Colts are excited,'' Hendrickson said. ''We're really happy we got it done.''

Castillo, from Northwestern, agreed to terms for potentially $7,035,000, including guaranteed money of $4,664,000. The defensive tackle tested positive for androstenedione at the scouting combine in February after a slow recovery from an elbow injury. He later called it a huge mistake'' taking the steroid and insisted a clause be inserted in his contract stating he will forfeit his bonus money if he ever has another positive drug test.

''Oh yeah, that's in there,'' he said. ''That was no joke about that. I said we would do it and we did it.''

Cornerback Washington, from Nebraska, got a five-year, $7.8 million contract that calls for about $5 million for a signing bonus and other guarantees.

More first-rounders are expected to reach agreements in the next few days as other training camps open. The other top-five picks behind Smith are running back Ronnie Brown of Miami, wide receiver Braylon Edwards of Cleveland, and RBs Cedric Benson of Chicago and Carnell Williams of Tampa Bay.

In other developments Tuesday:

- The Cardinals moved their training facility from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff to Prescott, Ariz., after a viral outbreak at the school. The Cardinals already planned a three-day extended training camp there Aug. 24-26.

The camp will open as scheduled, with players gathering on Sunday and the first workout on Monday.

''It will be a minimal distraction for our football team,'' said Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president of football operations. ''In fact, players will hardly know the difference, other than a change of scenery.''

- Green Bay coach Mike Sherman professed not to be concerned about the potential absence of four starters when training camp opens Friday. ''The guys that are here are my focus, not the guys that aren't,'' Sherman said of possible holdouts by wide receiver Javon Walker, tight end Bubba Franks and possibly defensive linemen Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt.

- St. Louis re-signed veteran guard Tom Nutten, who came out of retirement last year to help the team for whom he started in their Super Bowl-winning season of 1999.