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Ruffling the Cards
Plummer hopes Moore help is on the way
Posted: Tuesday September 07, 1999 08:57 AM
TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Quarterback Jake Plummer, whose sprained right thumb makes him still uncertain for Sunday's season opener at Philadelphia, went after the Arizona Cardinals' management Monday for its failure to reach a contract agreement with wide receiver Rob Moore.
"Until someone upstairs realizes how important Rob Moore is to this whole offense and this season, we're going to have to learn to play without him," Plummer said. "Hopefully, they'll realize that he's a game-breaker and a guy we have to have out there."
Moore has been at odds with the Arizona ownership since he was designated the team's franchise player in the off-season. The two sides reportedly have agreed to an annual salary of $5 million, but Moore wants a four-year deal and the Cardinals want three years. Moore also wants a bigger signing bonus than the team is willing to give.
Owner Bill Bidwill said he agreed.
"I think he is important and we're trying to get him," Bidwill said.
Plummer noted that last fall, when he signed a four-year, $29.7 million contract extension, he emphasized that he was only part of the solution and was counting on the Cardinals to sign other important players.
He said he has talked with members of the Cardinals' front office about the importance of signing Moore.
"The team wants him here. We all want him in here," Plummer said. "We can't negotiate Rob Moore's deal. If I could, I'd have him signed about six months ago. It's a thing I have no control over. It's up to the people upstairs that they make the move and get that deal done."
Without Moore, the only experienced wide receiver on the Arizona roster is Frank Sanders, who sprained his ankle in last Friday night's preseason finale against Oakland. Sanders said the injury is not serious and he should be at full speed by Sunday.
Moore is one of three Cardinals still holding out in contract squabbles. The others are defensive tackle Mark Smith and rookie offensive tackle L.J. Shelton, the team's second first-round draft choice.
Plummer said he has talked with Moore.
"He's frustrated. He wants to play," Plummer said. "He's not the player who's going to mouth off and cuss this guy out. He's more a guy who's going to bite his tongue and hope things get taken care of. I hope it ends up not hurting him and I hope it ends up not hurting the team."
Plummer took snaps during practice Monday for the first time since he sprained the thumb on his throwing hand against Tennessee Aug. 20. He was careful not to promise that he would be able to play.
"I plan on playing, but I don't want to go out there and force it, or reinjure it or not be able to throw the ball effectively," he said. "I can hand the ball off all day, but I've got to be able to throw that deep ball, the out routes, the comebacks and all that sort of thing without losing any velocity on it."
Coach Vince Tobin said he was encouraged by what Plummer was able to do in practice. Tobin said he will have to wait until later in the week to see how the thumb feels after the increased activity.
"If you can play and not increase your chance of reinjuring yourself, then I think you play," Tobin said. "If there is a chance you're going to set your progress back, then it doesn't make sense to play."
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