Originally created 07/23/98

NFL notes: Policy steps down as team president



POLICY RESIGNS FROM 49ERS: Carmen Policy, whose salary cap wizardry kept the aging San Francisco 49ers among the NFL's top teams, was not able to master the intrigue of his own front office.

Caught in a bitter personal battle with 49ers owner and former best friend Eddie DeBartolo, Policy resigned Wednesday after eight years as team president.

While Policy is expected to seek an executive position with the expansion Cleveland Browns, who begin play in 1999, his resignation likely signals that DeBartolo is about to regain control of the club he co-owns with his sister.

Policy and DeBartolo have not spoken since January, when the owner -- who faces possible indictment in a gambling fraud case in Louisiana -- feared Policy was trying to take control of the team.

WHEELER'S SURGERY TODAY: Miami Dolphins guard Randy Wheeler faces surgery to stabilize spinal injuries suffered when he was paralyzed from the neck down in a car crash.

Wheeler, the former Gamecocks' lineman who now lives in Hartsville, S.C., is being treated by Barth Green, co-founder of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and a world-renowned expert on spinal injuries. He said Wednesday that Wheeler is a quadriplegic.

Wheeler, 23, remained in serious condition Wednesday and was scheduled for surgery today at Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital to stabilize his spinal column and allow him to sit up and begin rehabilitation.

More will be known about Wheeler's prognosis after the operation, a hospital spokeswoman said.

CARTER GETS NEW CONTRACT: The Minnesota Vikings and Cris Carter agreed Wednesday on a four-year contract extension that will pay him a reported $23.5 million.

Both Carter and the Vikings said they expect the deal means Carter, 32, will be with the team the rest of his playing days.

Carter has been chosen to five Pro Bowls since the Vikings picked him up off waivers from the Philadelphia Eagles before the 1990 season.

WHERE'S TIM? Jimmy Johnson's third training camp with the Miami Dolphins opened Wednesday, and the most intriguing matchup pitted the coach against defensive tackle Tim Bowens.

Johnson took the unusual step of negotiating in public when he offered the unsigned Bowens a two-year, $6.5 million contract with this addendum: Take it or leave it.

"We are totally prepared to play this season without Tim," Johnson said.

Bowens, who wants a five-year, $25 million deal, is scheduled to report Friday along with most of the Dolphins' veterans. He could become the team's first significant holdout since Louis Oliver and Bobby Humphrey in 1993, and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said Bowens is prepared to sit out the season.

JAPANESE PLAYERS TO ATTEND CAMP: Four Japanese players will become the first from their from country to take part in NFL training camps this week. Two will workout with the Green Bay Packers and two with the Kansas City Chiefs. Those teams play each other in Tokyo on Aug. 1.

The four Japanese played in NFL Europe.

Linebacker Masafumi Kawaguchi of the Amsterdam Admirals and running back Tamon Nakamura of the Rhein Fire will sign 10-day contracts today with the Packers.

Tight end Nachi Abe and wide receiver Masato Itai, both from the Scottish Claymores, will practice with the Chiefs at Wisconsin-River Falls.

MILLER PASSES AWAY: Doug Miller, a linebacker for the San Diego Chargers in the 1995 Super Bowl, was killed by lightning in Dotsero, Colo. He was 28.

Miller was hit by lightning twice Tuesday night while camping on the Colorado River, according to Garfield County Sheriff Tom Delessandri.

WALKER IMPROVING: Football Hall of Famer Doak Walker, paralyzed in a January skiing accident, was moved Wednesday from a rehabilitation hospital to an extended-care facility near his Rocky Mountain home in Steamboat Springs, Colo.