Thu, Jul 31, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Kennedy set for defensive role at Rams

COME GET ME The former Big Ten defensive lineman of the year couldn't wait to get started with St. Louis and is more than happy with his five-year contract


Jimmy Kennedy made up for lost time after agreeing to a contract with the St. Louis Rams.

After the Rams and their first-round draft pick out of Penn State reached an agreement late Monday night, Kennedy did his laundry, packed and began the three-and-a-half-hour drive to Western Illinois University at 4:40am local time.

"I had to get here," Kennedy said after signing a five-year deal on Tuesday. "I was feeling it, but once I get through the first practice I should be all right."

Kennedy arrived in time to dress for a special teams practice on Tuesday morning, where his appearance drew cheers from fans, and participated in his first workout in the afternoon. He missed the first five days of camp.

The contract was held up because Kennedy's agent, Tom Condon, has three other first-round picks. Kennedy worked out alone at Rams Park in St. Louis while he was waiting.

"It was real tough," Kennedy said. "I was on Tom every day telling him, `Come on, get me in camp, I'm missing some days.' I'm a rookie and I have to be out there with my team and try to get adjusted."

The only player not in camp is holdout offensive tackle Orlando Pace, designated as the franchise player earlier in the year. The sides remain far apart and Martz said he's moving on without him, using Grant Williams at left tackle.

Kennedy joins a defensive line that features three other No. 1 picks -- Grant Wistrom, Ryan Pickett and Damione Lewis.

Kennedy started 41 games in his career at Pennsylvania State University and was named Big Ten defensive lineman of the year his senior year at right tackle. He had a career high 87 tackles -- 52 of them solo stops -- and five and a half sacks.

Also Tuesday, linebacker Terrell Suggs agreed to a five-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens, a deal that includes a US$7.3 million signing bonus.

The 10th overall pick was expected to be at training camp yesterday.

Quarterback Kyle Boller, picked 19th overall, is still a holdout.

Defensive end Calvin Pace, the No. 18 pick overall, signed a four-year, US$8 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, with a team option for a fifth.

After signing, Pace participated in an afternoon walkthrough practice. The Cardinals' other first-round pick, wide receiver Bryant Johnson, remained unsigned.

Nose tackle Gilbert Brown reported to the Green Bay Packers' training camp, after signing a six-year contract that was in the works since Saturday.

"Green Bay gave me the opportunity to come back and play a couple more years," the 10-year veteran nose tackle said. "I'm happy for that."

The Packers only would have had to count US$475,000 against their salary cap had Brown accepted a US$655,000 veteran's minimum deal with a US$25,000 bonus.

But the Washington Redskins raised the stakes with an offer to Brown, and the nose tackle and the Packers agreed to a contract reported to contain a US$400,000 signing bonus.

That means Brown will count US$721,667 against the cap -- his minimum base salary of US$655,000, plus the pro-rated signing bonus of US$66,667.

Brown said Tuesday he was "very close" to accepting the Redskins' offer.

Safety Ainsley Battles signed with the Buffalo Bills, bolstering their young secondary.

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