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McNown vows not to be holdout

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Posted: Monday April 19, 1999 06:32 PM

  Shown with NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue during the draft, Cade McNown says he's eager to get started. AP

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) -- Promising to be at training camp on time is a draft-pick ritual, like smiling for pictures while gripping the new team's jersey.

But Cade McNown insists he really means it. In fact, if contract negotiations get sticky, the Chicago Bears' top pick would rather get a new agent than hold out.

"When I selected an agent, I wanted to make sure the guy didn't have a history of holdouts," said McNown, the 12th overall pick in the draft. "I anticipate being in camp on time. There shouldn't be too much trouble with that."

Especially since McNown's agent, Tom Condon, is already on good terms with the Bears. Condon represents current Bears Erik Kramer, Curtis Conway, Jim Flanigan, Mike Wells and Andy Heck, so chairman Ted Phillips has a pretty good idea of what to expect once negotiations begin.

That wasn't the case last year. Curtis Enis, who was the fifth overall pick in the 1998 draft, promised he, too, would be in camp on time. But shortly before camp began - and well into the negotiation process -- Enis fired his agent and hired Greg Feste, who'd never negotiated an NFL contract before.

Negotiations turned nasty, and Enis ended up missing almost all of training camp before signing a contract.

While most players grumble and groan about training camp -- two-a-day practices in the heat and humidity, being away from their families for a month, living in college dormitories -- McNown said that time is invaluable, especially for a rookie. He'll meet some of his teammates at minicamps over the next few weeks, but training camp is the time when a team really bonds.

And he doesn't want to miss a bit of it.

"Every hour you miss with your teammates is an hour you can't get back," McNown said.

It will be a while before McNown signs a contract, though. While top pick Tim Couch had a deal with the Cleveland Browns even before the draft began Saturday, negotiations with most of the other picks won't start until June, said Mark Hatley, the Bears' vice president of player personnel.

Related information
CNN/SI's Kirwan: Year of the Holdout
Chicago fills in several holes with draft deals
CNN/SI's Kirwan: Assessing Day 1 strategies
Kirwan - Round 1
Cade McNown's draft page
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